THING OF THE WEEK
OUSTED…Cllr Martin Mitchell, the man who questioned Blackpool Council’s plan to sell off part of Stanley Park Golf Club to pave the way for a £45m indoor adventure park, has lost his job as chair of the authority’s tourism, economy and communities scrutiny committee. Mitchell raised concerns that the decision to sell off the land was not considered as rigorously as it might have been, and managed to get the matter referred to full council – where it was duly approved, much to the disgust of Blackpool’s golfing contingent. Mitchell has now been replaced as the chair of the scrutiny committee, and he thinks it is down to his opposition to the Stanley Park plan. “It makes a mockery of scrutiny to remove a chairman for voting the ‘wrong’ way,” he said. “I have not been sacked for doing my job badly. I may have been sacked for doing my job too well.”
RIVER DEADLOCK…The latest in a seemingly unending list of milestones for the burgeoning Mayfield development has been reached. The removal of a 60-metre culvert that had obscured the River Medlock for half a century has been removed and everyone is very excited. The river will meander through the much-vaunted 6.5-acre public park that forms part of the £1.4bn regeneration project being led by U+I. But while uncovering a beautiful water feature is great, the hunt for funding for the project is yet to bear fruit. U+I is still looking for lenders to fund the first phase of offices and a car park at the Manchester project. If a backer doesn’t step up soon, a de-culverted river within a Government-funded park might be all we’re getting.
LIGHTHAVEN…And while we’re on the topic of funding. Cash is being sought to relight a much-loved attraction in Whitehaven. The Wave, an undulating light sculpture at the town’s harbour, has not been switched on for a number of years but Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners is actively on the hunt for backing to re-illuminate the attraction.
MURKY DEPTHS...Scarborough Group’s 25-acre Middlewood Locks is an exciting development and boasts one of the deepest canal locks in the UK. The aptly named Middle Deep Lock, close to where the Manchester Bolton & Bury canal dips under East Ordsall Lane, has a depth of more than 16 feet, which is a nice little nugget of trivia for the residents at the £1bn Salford scheme and perhaps useful to know for safety reasons. The lock is located dangerously near to Seven Brothers Brewing, and one can’t help but worry that someone might one day suffer the ignominy of a 16ft drop after one too many pale ales.
ACOUSTICS…The internationally acclaimed Manchester Camerata orchestra has a new home. The group will be relocating to Gorton Monastery as it adds to its programme of live performances with a new focus on community outreach. Manchester Camerata has chosen the grade two-listed monastery so that it can support the local community, which suffers from high levels of poverty and deprivation, by creating an innovation hub for music and health. “This move has been made with the aim and intention to make a positive long-term impact in the local community and those communities surrounding it,” Manchester Camerata said.
FEVER PITCH…After a famous FA Cup run that saw Tottenham Hotspur grace the hallowed turf of Rossett Park, Marine FC are planning to use some of the cash generated from their exploits to replace the pitch with an artificial alternative. Generally, the decision to rip up a perfectly good grass pitch in favour of a plastic one is driven by the need for smaller clubs to generate additional revenue. Clubs with 3G playing surfaces can invite the public to use their facilities without having to worry about the pitch being churned up by teams of rotund six-a-side players. You would hope that fans of Marine, who were unable to be there for the visit of Harry Kane and co because of Covid-19 restrictions, might be offered a slice of the old playing surface as a memento of one of the biggest games in the club’s history.