THING OF THE WEEK
WAPPING WHIP… If you felt a strong gust of wind in Liverpool on Tuesday morning, you may have been forgiven for thinking it was another named storm, when in fact, it was the collective sigh of relief from the city’s development community. Having unanimously refused to back Carpenter Investments’ plans for a 13-storey scheme on the former Wapping Station site before Christmas, Liverpool City Council’s planning committee performed an impressive u-turn this week and gave the scheme planning consent – and at the same time likely swerved what might have been a costly appeal.
CACAO POWER... Till AM’s Manchester International Office Complex is fully let following the arrival of a familiar face to fans of Dragons Den. Anyone who has been watching the latest series will be aware of Manchester-based firm Full Power Cacao, which secured investment from guest dragon Gary Neville as well as Steven Bartlett and Peter Jones. The ex-Man United captain saw value in the business’s ‘ceremonial grade’ product, which founder Liam Browne claims can help people connect with their inner selves. Browne is adamant that, in future, cacao will overtake coffee as the number one morning drink. Now that he has secured a new office for his company, he can set about making that dream a reality. “We loved the vibe at MIOC,” Browne said. “The relationship between cacao and an individual’s Chakra system is truly magical, and we know our products can help re-centre and create stronger people who are more harmonious in the current busy world we live in.”
DESIGN DEBATE… An apartment scheme in Stockport got mixed reviews this week, proving beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Ollier Smurthwaite Architects is behind the designs for Provincial Land’s 16-storey scheme and the practice was praised by some in the Place North West comment section, where it was described as a “tasty little development”. Not everyone was licking their lips though, one commenter described the project as a “disgusting eyesore”. While the development seems to have divided opinion, surely, we can all agree that the proposals are an improvement on what is currently on the site. There are few things sadder than the sight of a derelict pub.
PUTTING DOWN ROOTS… Branching out from our usual THING topics, it has been a big week for trees. In Manchester, the big news is that the trees have arrived at Albert Square. Their long-anticipated arrival gives hope that the public square’s redesign – unlike the town hall’s refurb – is on track for its completion this year. Tree nerds will find a decent variety of species too – of the 22 trees to be planted, there are set to be nine different types, including a Handkerchief tree, an Indian Bean tree, and, in a reprisal of St Peter’s Square, a Foxglove tree.
Perhaps, one day, these trees will be as beloved as their cousin in Wrexham – which is lined up for the most coveted tree award in Europe. Wrexham’s 484-year-old Sweet Chestnut tree at Acton Park already claimed UK tree of the year and is now setting its sights on the European prize. Show your support and cast your vote at treeoftheyear.org/vote. Pob Lwc, Sweet Chestnut!
UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE… What is it with universities wanting to change their names? Last year Bolton University announced its intention to rebrand as the University of Greater Manchester and now UCLan is planning a similar move. Tired of being the University of Central Lancashire, UCLan wants to drop the ‘Central’ and become plain old University of Lancashire. The proposed name change has ruffled the feathers of Lancaster University, which claims it would be confusing.