THING OF THE WEEK
BOARDWALK REPAIRS…Investor Aberdeen Standard Investments, which owns the freehold to Deansgate Locks, is seizing this moment of reduced revelry to make much-needed safety improvements to the rickety wooden boardwalk that serves the bars and restaurants at the locks. According to a planning statement from consultancy JLL, there is “widespread wet rot and damage to the timber boards to the point where there is a risk of people falling through”. It looks like all those years of being bludgeoned by high heels and corroded by vomit, not to mention the occasional bit of drizzle we get in Manchester, has taken its toll on the walk. Good on Aberdeen for getting it sorted before something really bad happens. A dip in the Rochdale Canal doesn’t sound like the best way to spend an evening, although some might argue it would be more enjoyable than Revs or Lola Lo’s.
FEELING THE HEAT…The BBC Two series may not have been to everybody’s liking, but it certainly got people talking. Capital & Centric co-founder Tim Heatley found himself in the spotlight as the ‘big bad developer’ and wearing yellow trainers (although his shoe crimes were minimal compared to others…), but his willingness to talk candidly, coupled with his refusal to beat around the bush, should be applauded. It is not every day you get to hear a developer talk about £450m pipelines AND blowjobs. With three episodes still to go in the series, we wait with baited breath to see what challenges he faces next. He said it had been an “emotionally exhausting” week but hopes that, by the end of the series, “people will have a full picture of the benefits property development can bring”.
COVID VOICES…Turns out there are people who actually want to remember the swirling fun vortex that was/is 2020. A team of researchers and volunteers from the University of Manchester have been given almost £1m to join forces with the British Library to compile interviews with NHS workers who have spent most of the year wearing a mask while saving people’s lives while we complain about wearing one to do our weekly shop.
Dr Stephanie Snow, from the university’s Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, and her team, have already collected more than 200 Covid-19 voices, including Nick Hart, the respiratory doctor who treated Prime Minister Boris Johnson in intensive care.
The grant will enable Dr Snow to link up with the British Library’s oral history department to form a permanent public resource which will also inform policy and practice. She said: “Covid is producing seismic shifts across lives and communities and its social significance in terms of a public health crisis is unprecedented in living memory.
“It is a watershed moment in the longer history of the NHS so we are asking how have public attitudes to the NHS changed, what does care mean and who should provide it?”
ROMAN REMAINS...The Chester Northgate scheme is no stranger to the headlines and Chester is well-known for its Roman past so it is perhaps unsurprising that the two things have collided after the discovery of a mysterious Roman artefact at the Northgate development site. A lozenge-shaped item, believed to be made of bone, was found during a dig by a team from Oxford Archeology. Experts think the object may have been one of the pieces used to play a game called Ludus Latrunculorum, meaning the Game of Mercenaries, which was a two-player military strategy board game played throughout the Roman Empire, similar to draughts. Cllr Richard Beacham, Cheshire West & Chester’s cabinet member for regeneration said: “Chester is truly alive with history. We will be treading very carefully to protect the sensitive archaeological remains on the site and we will be adding anything we find to our impressive collection of Roman artefacts at the Grosvenor Museum.”
DOG BIRTHDAY…Euan Kellie, founder of Euan Kellie Property Solutions, loves his dogs almost as much as he loves the post-war redevelopment of Manchester. He’s got two Labradors named Ronald and Ted who you may remember played the role as course inspectors during Kellie’s backyard half-marathon in April. Ronald celebrated his first full year in the Kellie household this week after he was rescued from Cyprus, where he was found blind and suffering with heat exhaustion. He was shipped over to the UK by dog charity Dogs4Rescue and has since recovered his sight. Being forced to wear dubious red neckerchiefs is a small price to pay for a life of relative luxury with the Kellies.
GIN GIN…A 4,300 sq ft former joinery workshop on Regent Road in the Ten Streets area of Liverpool could be transformed into a gin distillery by local independent gin maker Murphy’s Gin. Plans have been lodged by Murphy’s and consultant Bill Wadkin Consultancy, to convert the unit into a bar with a distillery in the former workshop and a beer garden where the loading bay used to be. The building was previously occupied by Renshaw Joinery, which was dissolved in 2018. Murphy’s makes three types of gin, a classic London Dry, a Pomegranate and Keffir Lime-flavoured gin, and an Orange and Passion Fruit number.