THING OF THE WEEK
STATE OF THE MARKET… Denbighshire Council has launched a fresh search for an operator for the soon-to-be-completed Queens Market food hall in Rhyl after talks with a preferred party broke down. The council had been in discussions with Mikhail Hotel and Leisure Group but the latter ultimately decided the scheme did not fit in with its operating model.
While the situation is far from ideal, there seems to be no bad blood between the parties with both wishing the other success in the future. Perhaps MHALG has chosen not to go ahead with the Rhyl project because it wants to focus its efforts on another pipeline scheme, the 48-storey skyscraper in Southport that confounded the development community almost two years ago. One can hope.
Chanel’s got nothing on our #Manchester studio…
— Civic Engineers (@civicengineers) December 7, 2023
CELEBRITY SPOTTING... Manchester was awash with celebrities yesterday who descended on the city to enjoy fashion and flash floods. Ahead of the much-talked-about Chanel catwalk show taking place in the Northern Quarter, workers could be seen mopping cobbles on Thomas Street to make sure the stars wouldn’t have to suffer the misery of not being able to see their own reflections for an evening.
There was photographic evidence of Kate Moss in the Arndale’s Aldi, while whispers of Hugh Grant and George Clooney’s presence on Parsonage floated above the city like clouds of No5. Victoria and David Beckham were said to be knocking about like the world’s most glamourous 90s throwback but rumours that Kim Kardashian could be seen belting out Oasis’ What’s the Story Morning Glory in the Millstone a short distance away from the catwalk are thought to be exaggerated.
It wasn’t just A-listers getting in the Chanel spirit yesterday. Civic Engineers’ Manchester team showed off their Christmas jumpers with a display Coco would have been proud of.
FLAKY... There is a common myth that a 99 ice cream is so-called because it used to cost 99p back in the good old days. That simply is not true and the jury is out on the real reason – theories on the origin are readily available to anyone with access to a search engine.
In years to come, lovers of cold confectionery may also wonder how English Lakes Ice Cream got its name, given that it is based 20 miles south of the Lake District. Readers of this humble column will be able to tell those people that, while English Lakes Ice Cream may be based in Carnforth, it can trace its roots back to Kendal. The firm is currently based at the pleasingly named Gilthwaiterigg Lane in the Lake District but will soon relocate south to Lancashire in the name of growth.
The company’s existing premises are “no longer suitable to meet the needs of the business and are preventing the acceptance of further business to the detriment of the business itself”, according to a planning statement accompanying an application for a new 20,000 sq ft facility.
CONCRETE JUNGLE… Lobbyists on online property forum Skyscraper City have mobilised following the ‘completion’ of public realm and active travel work at Stevenson Square. In short, they are not happy with the project – which makes for quite an inhospitable environment for cyclists – and have called on Manchester City Council to take action.
The good folk on Skyscraper City, who take just as much interest in the space between buildings as the buildings themselves, have been hurt before; work to transform Great Ancoats Street into a “European-style boulevard” flattered to deceive, leaving many forum folk angry. They will be hoping the city council can intervene to make sure Stevenson Square lives up to its billing as a “more welcoming and accessible place”, especially given that Manchester has just been named ACES European Capital of Cycline for 2024…
WINTER WONDERLAND… Let this be a lesson to visualisers everywhere – not every development needs a summer or spring CGI. Virtual Planit has proven that festive winter scenes can provide plenty of glad tidings by showcasing Muse and Bury Council’s Prestwich town centre regeneration plans around the Christmas season. You go dashing through the Prestwich snow, virtually, in the video above. Keep an eye out for Father Christmas!
AUF WIEDERSEHEN, CRANE… The tower crane that has done much of the heavy lifting for the first phase of Salboy’s Viadux project has been disassembled after what Domis Construction project director Rob McLoughlin described as “28 months of great service”. In order for the crane to carry out its work on the 375-apartment, 40-storey project, a hole had to be punched through the viaduct, allowing the machine to be slipped carefully through. This was a feat of engineering in itself. With plans revealed for the tallest building in the UK outside of London included in the next phase of Viadux, it won’t be long until an even larger crane is towering over the city.