THING OF THE WEEK
VOI-LA…It has been a mixed week for Voi, the firm behind Liverpool’s electric scooter scheme. A study conducted by FindOutNow found that less than half of respondents supported the pilot active travel initiative. However, data from Voi showed that 700,000 trips have been taken using its machines since the Liverpool trial began last October. That equates to 1.5 million km, which Voi claims is the equivalent of 214,000 car journeys. Liverpool’s Lib Dem councillors are unimpressed by those figures though. They have been lobbying for a review of the e-scooter invasion following “a number of accidents”. In response, Voi is to add a “bespoke low hum” to alert other road users that an e-scooter is approaching. Whether that will be enough to appease Cllr Richard Kemp and his pals remains to be seen.
FUNDUE...Mona Island Dairy Factory, a 25,000 sq ft facility in North Wales, is to undergo a £20m upgrade. With the company claiming the revamp could increase turnover by £25m by 2022, this is certainly no cottage cheese industry. Once complete, the cheese factory will brie capable of producing 7,000 tons of cheese a year, which is grate news, cheese lovers.
PARK’S BENCH…One individual who would be delighted to hear about the cheese factory investment is everyone’s favourite plasticine creation, Wallace. Such is Wallace’s cheese obsession, he once went to the trouble of building a rocket and flying to the moon to get his hands on some of the good stuff. In Preston, that kind of commitment to dairy products is important, and the city will soon pay homage to Wallace and his long-suffering canine companion, Gromit. A bronze bench, based on the pair as they appeared in The Wrong Trousers, will be installed outside Preston Markets later this year. The bench is being funded from a £1m pot of initial funding Preston received from the Government’s Towns Fund initiative. The city received a total of £20.9m from the Towns Fund in March to support its wider Harris Quarter Investment Programme. Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park, said: “It is such a great honour for me, as a proud Prestonian, to see my characters cast in bronze and given pride of place in my hometown.”
CARVELLOUS...Eric Wright’s Antony Mulligan, who was the project manager of the firm’s Pooley Bridge scheme, has been presented with a hand-carved salad bowl, fashioned from a felled plum tree by 91-year-old local resident John Beer. Eric Wright Civil Engineering had occupied part of Mr Beer’s garden while it built the bridge and the tree was removed as part of the project. Mulligan and Beer struck up quite a friendship during the installation of the bridge. “We’ve won a raft of national engineering awards for the construction of Pooley Bridge but there’s no better public endorsement than a hand carved salad bowl!,” Mulligan said.
FOOD PORN…Milestone’s GPO food hall at Liverpool’s Metquarter opened this week. Both Matt Bigland, the owner of Milestone, and Queensberry’s Alex Hyams, asset manager for the Metquarter, couldn’t sing the praises of the impressive cohort of independent traders enough. The virtues of Asian street food-centric Konjö – a restaurant concept from Sheffield-based restauranteurs Luke and Stacey French – were extolled through mouthfuls of saliva. Konjö’s flagship restaurant is Jöro, which is gunning for a Michelin star after netting a coveted Bib Gourmand award from the restaurant guide. Also high on the list of recommendations was Indian restaurant Chit ‘n’ Chaat, which Hyams said is a favourite of the Virat Kohli & Co when the Indian cricket team tour the UK. And, come July, foodies will be flocking to Thai25 according to Bigland, who vouched for its sheer deliciousness.
GULLIBLE…This seagull must have overheard Matt and Alex talking about the food at GPO. The bird was spotted defiantly camping out at the entrance to the Metquarter hoping for a piece of the action. Despite the best efforts of the centre’s security crew, who could be heard helplessly talking into walkie-talkies trying to find someone to come and shift the feathery foodie, the gull would not budge.