REDMAN…Was it a trick of the light or did Steve Rotheram really paint his own face red to demonstrate his unwavering allegiance to the Labour party and his beloved Liverpool FC? Rotheram’s decision to politicise his own countenance was a bold one, but one that will surely earn him even more admirers within left-leaning Merseyside ahead of his bid for re-election as city-region mayor in a few months’ time. 

Lancaster Railway Bridge

BRIDGE…A grade two-listed footbridge at Lancaster train station is going to receive some much-needed TLC. Thanks to a £1.3m investment from Network Rail, the walkway, which connects platforms three and six, will be upgraded and restored over the next nine months. With any luck, by August, the refurbished bridge will be teeming with commuters and day-trippers once more. 

Symphony Park

SYMPHONY…The clamour for more public spaces in Manchester is reaching fever pitch. The so-called New Islington Green won’t be around much longer after the council approved plans for an office development on the impromptu park, and it doesn’t look as if a park will feature in the council’s plans for the former Central Retail Park, despite clamour from opposition councillors to incorporate one. The six-acre park proposed as part of the redevelopment of Mayfield is eagerly anticipated but there are concerns that, as other opportunities to create city-centre green spaces are passed over, the Mayfield park will be doing a serious amount of heavy lifting.

Luckily Symphony Park, part of Bruntwood’s Circle Square development on Oxford Road, is taking shape, as illustrated by this photograph taken by Pete Swift, director of landscape architect Planit IE. With Mayfield still a fair way off, Symphony Park could hit the right note for those in search of a bit of urban tranquillity. 

HOMESCHOOLING…TV’s Tim Heatley has a lot on his plate. Like many other people, the Capital & Centric co-founder is attempting to juggle a workload that includes projects in Stockport, Farnworth and Rochdale, with homeschooling. Luckily, Heatley’s daughters have discovered the joys of a bedsheet and a polished concrete floor and seem to be keeping themselves occupied. 

Rooster 1

ROOSTERS…After years of being cooped up in old-fashioned facilities at Moat Hall Sports Centre in Eccles, Salford Roosters, an amateur rugby league outfit, are to get a brand new clubhouse. Contractor J Greenwood has been selected to build the facility, which will incorporate changing rooms and a bar. The project is expected to cost £1m and is being funded by grants from Salford City Council and Created By, a Rugby Football League initiative supported by the Government and Sports England to improve rugby league facilities across the UK. 

Blackpool Airport Covid Testing Hangar

HELPING HANG…With virus rates spiralling out of control in the first week of 2021, the region is doing its bit to help smooth the process of testing and vaccinating members of the public. Blackpool Airport has become the first North West airport to offer rapid Covid-19 tests, by transforming the chartered aircraft hangar known as Hangar 3 into a private medical facility. Test results from Hangar 3 will be available within eight to 48 hours and a courier service will deliver the test certificates directly to people’s doors. Hangar 3 will also provide arrival testing for passengers entering the UK independently, in a bid to reduce the current quarantine period to five days or less.

Meanwhile, Manchester-based developer Hurstwood Holdings is offering all of its vacant offices, warehouse and car parks in the region and beyond for free use by the NHS to aid roll-out of the vaccine. In the North West, the sites are in Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Lancashire. “We are keen to do our part to assist with this important step towards a return to normality,” said Hurstwood’s chief executive and chairman Stephen Ashworth.


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