BELLS END… Manchester Town Hall’s eight-ton hour bell, named Great Abel after Abel Heywood – Manchester Mayor when the town hall opened in 1877 – has fallen silent as work on the Our Town Hall project continues. All of the town hall’s 24 bells will be muted to protect the hearing of project staff, who will be installing scaffolding on the 87-metre-high clock tower as part of ongoing work on the grade one-listed building. The council said the bells could remain silent for the duration of the project, due to complete in 2024. 

Altrincham Market

NOT APPY… Keir Starmer laid into Boris Johnson at PMQs this week over the lack of a track and trace app the Conservatives promised to deliver. Johnson asked his learned friend to give an example of a country which had a fully functioning track and trace app, claiming there weren’t any. “Germany,” Starmer replied without hesitation. And Germany isn’t the only place to have got its app together. As the hospitality business prepares to reopen Altrincham Market owner Nick Johnson is overseeing the development of an application which will make it easier for customers to track and trace their food orders. Johnson (Nick, not Boris) was reticent to pivot towards technology, but was left with no choice after the damage wrought by Covid-19, which has largely put paid to human interaction, for now. So the question is, if one Johnson can do it, albeit begrudgingly, why can’t the other? 

VIRTUAL WINNER… There was no chance the pandemic was going to derail the 2020 Women in Property North West student awards. Zoom saved the day once again and allowed the event to go ahead. Emily Bates, a town planning student at the University of Liverpool was crowned the winner. Six students from five institutions each had to make a one-minute video showcasing themselves and their work, and it was Emily who impressed the judges most. In one minute, she managed to thank her lecturers, praise the “instrumental” role of women in property and outline, in detail, a four-part case study she had worked on focussing on the regeneration of the L8 area of Liverpool.  

Chester Supertrees

NAME CHANGE…A roundabout in Chester is set to be renamed after it was revealed that its previous name, the ‘Supertrees’ was in violation of copyright. The roundabout on St Oswalds Way features three steel trees designed to allow plants and flowers to grow around them and was inspired by Supertree Grove, part of the 250-acre Gardens by the Bay attraction in Singapore. However, it turns out that the rights to the name are already spoken for. Cheshire West & Chester Council is asking the public for (sensible) suggestions on what the gardens, developed by Forest City Projects, could be renamed. Roundy McRoundabout, anyone? 

BLOSSOMS BAR… Jimmy’s bar was forced to vacate its Northern Quarter building last September after it was sold for office space. However, the neon-dunked nightspot, which plays all of your favourite indie anthems, will be reborn in 4,000 sq ft former office building in Cutting Room Square alongside other Ancoats favourites Rudy’s and Seven Brothers Brewhouse. The building, 27 Blossom Street, is adorned with huge metal letters spelling out its address which Jimmy’s owners, brothers George and Jimmy Craig, don’t want. But instead of allowing the letters to go to waste they offered them to Stockport band Blossoms, which gladly took them up on the offer, possibly in exchange for a few tunes on opening night…

Liverpool Zipwire

ZIPPY… Liverpool City Council is set to approve plans for a £4m project to install a zip wire connecting the top of St Johns Beacon to Liverpool Central Library. Zip World, which operates three zip line adventure parks in North Wales, submitted the plans in December but they have come in for criticism from local councillors who disagree with the proposals. However, the council’s planning officer, who is reported to be a bit of an adrenaline junkie, has recommended that the plans be approved when the committee meets via Zoom next week.  

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