THING OF THE WEEK
STOCK CHECK… Stockport Council’s corporate, resource management and governance scrutiny committee meeting earlier this week almost descended into Handforth Parish Council-style chaos. The committee was meeting to determine whether contentious plans to relocate the town’s library services should progress or if they should go before full council for further scrutiny. A group of Lib Dem and Conservative councillors opposed to the relocation called in the Labour-run cabinet’s approval of the plan. At Tuesday evening’s meeting, Labour councillor Andy Sorton fought his party’s corner, accusing committee chair Cllr John McGahan – one of the Conservative councillors that had opposed the library plan – of trying to “stifle” debate on the matter. It is fair to suggest that without Sorton in the room lobbying for a discussion on the matter, the 50-minute meeting might have been considerably shorter and less fractious. Luckily he stopped short at claiming McGahan had no authority. In the end, the committee voted to refer the matter to full council next week. If the prologue is anything to go by, a meeting of all 63 of Stockport’s elected members is sure to be tasty.
BANANA APPEAL… Charity Banana Enterprise Network has submitted its official expression of interest to the National Heritage Lottery to receive £3m in funding to renovate the grade two-listed Rock Hall in Farnworth. The hall, which was built in 1807, sits within Moses Gate Park. Banana hopes to turn the hall into a community centre. Hopefully, the lottery doesn’t split hairs and agrees that this project is ripe for the picking.
LOOKING AHEAD… The good people on property forum SkyscraperCity have made their predictions for what might happen in Manchester in 2022. Among the prophecies for the year ahead are a successful conclusion of the much-maligned Factory project, and changes to the Central Retail Park masterplan. One commenter stopped short of making any predictions, instead stating his wish that Piccadilly Gardens be transformed into “the stylish city square it should be”. Fingers crossed.
PUMP IT… Many questioned whether gyms would survive the impact of the pandemic. Who needs a costly membership to a swanky fitness complex when Joe Wicks can talk you through a 20-minute home HIIT workout through the magic of YouTube? However, one gym chain is showing that for some people burpees in your living room just don’t cut it. After making a £214m loss in 2020, PureGym is fighting back. The company aims to open more gyms in 2022, taking the number of UK sites it operates up to the 300 mark. The latest is at Cheetham Hill Retail Park, where PureGym has lodged plans to open a 22,000 sq ft branch next to Lidl. Take that, Wicks.
SPRUCE UP… Here is how Bacup could look with the help of a £1.1m makeover. You may recognise Union Street, pictured above, from Brassic, a Sky series about a ragtag crew of loveable criminals. However, Sky may have to look for an alternative location to film the series if Bacup’s makeover goes ahead; depicting the lives of petty thieves in such plush surroundings might not be the vibe the producers are after.