St Helens coach tour, c PNW

All aboard the Place coach! Credit: PNW


WHEELS ON THE BUS… You’re never too old for a field trip. If you’re out and about in St Helens today, you might see a troop of developers and investors exploring the borough’s strategic development sites in the latest edition of Place on Tour. Not lucky enough to score a trip on our coach? You can expect a full write-up, with a low-down on the sites that made our list of must-sees, next week.


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LEEDS RIVIERA… Speaking of field trips, it appears every property professional in the UK will be in Leeds next week for UKREiiF. With around 12,000 expected to attend, UKREiiF is jam-packed with activity – and we truly mean that. The schedule of panel sessions and fringe events is perhaps one of the most daunting spreadsheets in existence. Overwhelming? Decidedly. Meanwhile, the abundance of sponsors for the conference led one property professional to joke to Place that even the toilets would have branding on them. We chuckled, but you know – there may be an idea there. Surely there’s a waste management company out there that might be interested. UKREiiF, you can have that one on us.

Co Op Live Elbow concert , Oak View Group, c Peter Neill ShootTheSound

Elbow’s concert at Co-Op Live has been praised by early reviewers. Credit: Peter Neill, ShootTheSound

MOVING ON… Dear Friends, with Elbow’s performance this week, it seems the woes of Co-op Live are in the past. The arena seemed fit for an Audience With The Pope on Tuesday (in a word, Magnificent), delivering on the Great Expectations that had been building for the venue since it was announced years ago. With the radiance from a Mirrorball on the audience, it seemed all Grounds for Divorce between Co-Op Live and Manchester had been resolved. Onwards and upwards.


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READY, SET…BAKE! From our small screens to real life – the joy of Bake Off is coming to the North West. Plans have been lodged for The Big Manchester Bake, an entertainment venue specialising in 90-minute baking competitions at Four New Bailey in Salford. The company already has venues in London and Birmingham, but this will mark their first foray into the Norht West. For those not interested in crafting edible creations in the “Baking Marquee”, you will be able to enjoy sweets and drinks at its hospitality space, which is broken in two themes: English garden and village green. Sounds like the perfect time to show your friends your Paul Hollywood or Mary Berry skills.

Bonnie Craig, Animate, Preston, P, Justin Strong PR

Lancastrian artist Bonnie Craig has designed cladding for Preston’s Animate. Credit: Justin Strong PR

THE ART OF TENSION… Are you on tenterhooks waiting for the £45m Animate leisure complex to be finished? The good news is it will be ready to open to the public early next year, and one local will be keenly awaiting the opening more than most, Lancastrian artist Bonnie Craig. She has paid homage to the history and culture of the city by creating a pattern for the metal façade cladding that is wrapped around the top third of the building.

A key feature of Bonnie’s design is the distinctive bronze-coloured cladding panels, which take inspiration from Tenterfield Street – which itself derives its name from the tenter fields where tenterhooks held fabric in place. One thing’s for sure, with the building almost fully pre-let, there will be no tension about whether the venue will be able to secure tenants!

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