FIRST OF THE SUMMER WINE…The UK’s prolonged wintry freeze finally thawed this week with temperatures well into the 20s – a good time for the team behind the 533-unit Kampus development in Manchester to launch a summer series of food and drink pop-ups. The opening of the gardens at the emerging neighbourhood along the Rochdale Canal kicks off with a residency from Levenshulme-based wine bar Isca Wines, which will set up outdoors at Kampus for two weekends from Friday 11 June. Isca was created by sommelier Caroline Dubois and chef Isobel Jenkins of renowned Stockport restaurant Where The Light Gets In. It will serve up naturally sourced wines to guests who can sit either right next to the canal or in the Kampus Bungalow – a former security cabin on stilts that now houses pop-ups and other community uses. The rest of the summer series is yet to be confirmed but this sounds like a good place to start, as HBD and Capital & Centric’s five-block scheme nears completion. Cheers!

Cumbria Dog Hotel Indoor Play Area

The painted indoor play area at Woof and Wags

WOOF! For Cumbria dwellers wanting to get back out now lockdown is over, there is a new place to leave your canine pals while you go and have fun. A luxury ‘dog hotel’ has opened in Arlecdon, in the west of the county, called Woof & Wags. Owner Yvonne Clark decided to diversify her farm business and set about refurbishing one of the buildings and transforming it into a palace for pooches. Each doggie bedroom has been named after a cartoon hound such as Scoobie-Doo or Pluto and features colourful murals decorating the walls. “We aim to give our guests an enjoyable, fun and lively holiday,” Woof & Wags’ website states. “Every guest is treated like a member of the family to ensure that they enjoy their stay and make themselves feel right at home.” To help out, Clark has hired her 16-year-old son Oliver, who is doing an apprenticeship in kennel management at Kennel College – sorry, Kendal College. So if your dog has gone as stir crazy as you during the pandemic, book them in and leave them to it.

Bucket Fountain

The Piazza Fountain sits on Beetham Plaza off Drury Lane

BUCKET LOVE…Campaigners are pushing to save Liverpool’s much-loved ‘bucket fountain’, which risks relocation under developer Elliot Group’s plans to build a hotel on the corner of Drury Lane and the Strand. Merseyside Civic Society and community group Friends of the Piazza Fountain have clubbed together to launch a crowdfunding appeal, aiming to raise £12,250 to commission an engineering study into the historic sculpture in Beetham Plaza and restore it to its former glory. The Piazza Fountain was commissioned by the society in 1962 to commemorate the launch of the Tryweryn Scheme to provide drinking water to the people of Liverpool. Designed by artist Richard Huws, it was built by workers at Birkenhead-based shipbuilder Cammell Laird. In 2019, the fountain and its viewing platform were awarded grade two-listed status so cannot be demolished. Elliot has proposed to relocate the work to progress its scheme, but the project has been on hold for some time while the developer considers the implications of the fountain’s listing. “We will engage with any sensible proposal and look forward to the relevant parties seeking permission to access private property,” an Elliot spokesperson told Place North West.

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DELISH… Turns out all you need to fund a catering company is 24 hours. Gary Usher’s latest project, Elite Bistro Events in Chester, hit its crowdfunding target of £150,000 within hours of being announced on Twitter. Usher’s crew hopes the substantial crowdfunding will encourage Barclays Bank to fund the rest of the endeavour. Elite Bistro Events will set up shop at Deva House in Chester city centre and offer both event catering and cook-at-home recipe boxes. It will be managed by Ashley Whittingham-Orford, with food by Ryan Howarth, former general manager and head chef respectively at Usher’s Wreckfish restaurant in Liverpool. How’s that for a tasty morsel?

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No stable for this alpaca c.Ania Archer via Unsplash

ALPACA YOUR BAGS… Bad news for a small herd of Cheshire alpacas doomed to stand out in the rain after Cheshire East Council refused planning permission for the owner to build a stable at Kinsey Heath Farm. The council justified the rejection by saying the stable would be located on a plot of land that is too small and within 400 metres of a protected building. Looks like the budding alpaca farmers will have to find another way to protect the animals from the elements – or move them elsewhere. Sadness!

Bodelwyddan (2)

LORDS AND LADIES…Bodelwyddan Castle in North Wales has been let at last! Sort of, at any rate. The previous leaseholder of the grade two-listed structure, Bodelwyddan Castle Trust, has sold the lease back to its landlord, Denbighshire Council, advised by accountancy and business advisory firm Cowgills. The trust had handled the day-to-day operations of the castle, including the museum and art gallery. However, it was forced to close in 2019 after losing a £144,000 grant from that same council. It won’t be long before the castle has a new operator though – Cowgills’ head of business recovery Alan Coleman hinted that Bourne Leisure, which owns a nearby hotel, might soon make an offer for at least part of the castle.

St Georges Island

Residents at St George’s Island in Manchester may have to fork out for cladding repairs

CLADIATORS…Protesters are taking action across the country at 12pm on Saturday to protest against the developers of buildings subsequently found to have faulty cladding on their façades. In Manchester, expect to find protesters at Bellways’ The Mount development and at the town hall. Leaseholders across the country are facing six-figure bills for fire safety remediation efforts. While the Government is providing aid, the protesters say it isn’t enough. Led by the End Our Cladding Scandal campaign and Manchester Cladiators, the protestors want the Government to hold developers accountable. Place North West reported this week that leaseholders at St George’s Island in Castlefield and Transport House in Salford have been told by property managers it could cost a total of £100,000 to fix cladding issues to make their homes safe from fire.

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