Travellers in Manchester and Oldham are set to benefit from cheaper bus fares, according to the First transport group.
First Bus staff promoted the new fares system with a mock “protest” in Manchester city centre this week. Brandishing placards, the “power to the people” protesters handed out vouchers for free travel cards in order to encourage more Mancunians to try out the bus network and to let them know about the new fares for selected FirstDay and FirstWeek tickets.
First Bus head Of marketing Phil Williams told the Manchester Evening News that the fares were aimed at everyone, whether they were travelling for business or leisure.
“Not only is this good news for existing customers; we hope that it may also encourage more people to give the bus a try as a cheaper and easier alternative to taking the car into the city and parking up,” he added.
“Around Christmas time it’s also a great way for people to travel anywhere within the M60 – enjoying a drink in the run up to Christmas or an easier way to beat the crowds to the shops. We hope people make the most of the new lower fares.”
The Cenotaph is to be moved to a different part of Manchester City Centre, it emerged this week.
The Manchester Cenotaph, currently in St Peter's Square, will be moved to a new site near to the town hall, according to plans that the city council approved earlier in the week. English Heritage had previously objected to the major refurbishment plan,arguing that there was not “a clear and convincing justification”, but has since withdrawn their complaint.
This leaves the way clear for the grade-II listed monument to move from its current island site between the St Peter's Square Metrolink platform and Mosley Street to a new site opposite the town hall's Cooper Street entrance. Memorial plaques will also be transferred to the new site.
The move will take place throughout late 2013 and early 2014 and during part of this time the cenotaph will be kept in storage. The refurbishment plan also includes a new Manchester city centre Metrolink crossing and the restoration of St Peter's Cross, which marks the original location of St Peter's Church.
The council's town centre chief Pat Karney told the Manchester Evening News that “this new location will be a more respectful and appropriate space for paying tribute to our fallen heroes.”
Olympian cyclist Steven Burke gave his personal endorsement to a major new development for cyclists in Manchester city centre last weekend – the City Tower Cycle Hub in Piccadilly Gardens.
The new development is a first for the city of Manchester and has everything that a commuting cyclist may need, since it is designed to make cycling to work in Manchester city centre easy and convenient.
For under £1 a day, cyclists will have access to facilities including changing areas, lockers, toilets and showers – plus secure parking for up to 200 bicycles. Also on-site will be the Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative, which will offer bicycle repair and servicing, training courses on bike maintenance and a pick-up point for cycle-related goods ordered from the retailer online.
Steven Burke was invited to have an early preview of the new cycle hub at City Tower on Friday by Transport for Greater Manchester (TFGM), following his gold medal triumph at London 2012. He seemed impressed, saying: “It was great to see the new hub facility at City Tower. It’s got everything you could ask for as a commuter, and hopefully it’ll encourage even more people in the city to ride their bikes to work.”
Olympian heroes will receive the thanks of Mancunians on Friday at a massive celebration in Manchester city centre.
Over 60 Olympic and Paralympic gold medal winners, including Sir Chris Hoy, will attend Friday's public party in Albert Square.
City centre locations such as the Manchester Velodrome were instrumental in Team GB's impressive haul this summer, so some of the guests of honour will be 27 members of the British cycling team, based at the Velodrome. They were among those that helped Team GB on its way to third place in 2012 Olympics medals table.
The celebration is being sponsored by Manchester City Council, which said that the event would allow Mancunians to relive the triumphs of this summer's sporting tournament. Executive member for culture and leisure Councillor Rosa Battle added: “The achievements of Manchester-based Olympians and Paralympians this year were incredible. It’s no exaggeration to say London 2012 would not have been the triumph it was without Manchester. This is our chance to celebrate those achievements in what promises to be a memorable event.”
“It’s also an opportunity to pay tribute to others who made the Games such a great success whether as torch-bearers, coac-hes or volunteers. Let’s send out a message about how proud we are of our city’s contribution to a golden summer of sport.”
A new survey has revealed a boost to property development in Manchester city centre. The latest Drivers Jonas Deloitte Crane Survey showed a significant increase in construction work in educational establishments, hotels and the office sector from July 2011 to July 2012.
Researchers found that there had been a particularly large rise in investment in education facilities, with Drivers Jonas Deloitte director Michele Steel adding that the public sector was one of the major drivers for the “ongoing regeneration of Manchester city centre.”
Ms Steel noted that at the time of the survey – which also analysed construction work taking place in Birmingham, Leeds, Edinburgh and Glasgow – work on Manchester's two universities alone had delivered a third of the total work that year on non-residential floorspace.
"With the council's ongoing work at the Town Hall and Central Library, more than half of the activity has been public sector led,” she added.
“This is nothing new in Manchester and is demonstrative of the proactive development approach of the city's key institutions."
When it came to office space construction, Drivers Jonas Deloitte assistant director Adam Robson said that three new office schemes had begun in Manchester city centre in the past year
Manchester city centre is rightly considered one of the great urban centres of the UK, but that does not mean that there’s not plenty of opportunities for people with green fingers as well. City centre estate agents can show you many properties with ample gardens and yards – and there are also great allotments which grow a wide variety of produce.
On Saturday 15th September, more than 20 of the food gardens and allotments in Manchester city centre and the surrounding area will throw open their gates as part of the UK-wide Edible Gardens open day. Allotments, parks and gardens opening as part of the day include locations in Manchester city centre, Bolton, Moss Side, Oldham, Old Trafford, Openshawe, Prestwich, and Wythenshawe and it is expected to be the largest ever open day for food-growing open spaces in the British Isles, with more than 5,000 expected participants.
The organisation co-ordinating the event for Greater Manchester is the Kindling Trust, and spokeswoman Helen Woodcock told Manchester Confidential that “Gardening and community gardens have blossomed over the last decade, and growing your own food has never been more important.”
“This event is about encouraging more people to join us, both at existing food growing projects and to get people inspired to set up their own.”
Developers have received planning permission for the next step of an ambitious scheme to regenerate the northern quarter of Manchester city centre – the so-called Smithfield Project.
Manchester City Council approved developer Muse’s plans as part of its wider Northern Quarter regeneration scheme. As part of the Smithfield Project, Muse will build 77 new apartments – comprising a mixture of one, two and three bedroom flats – plus some 560 square metres of new office and commercial space. When it’s finished, the additional housing stock should prove a boon to city centre estate agents as part of Manchester’s ongoing regeneration.
The Smithfield Project has been underway for the past decade, and last year it scooped the gong for mixed-use development of the year at the Regeneration & Renewal Awards. Work on the next phase of the project is due to commence later in the year.
Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese commented: "The Northern Quarter is a key element of the regeneration of Manchester city centre and this scheme is further evidence that it remains a thriving residential and commercial location."
Music and electronics retailer HMV said this week that it is considering selling two live music venues in Manchester city centre.
HMV told the Manchester Evening News that it was in “preliminary discussions” over the sale of the Ritz and the GAY nightclub, after already concluding a deal to divest itself of London’s Hammersmith Apollo, which is being snapped up by US entertainment giant AEG. The move is part of its decision to get rid of its HMV Live arm.
It has been rumoured that AEG could be seeking the two Manchester city centre venues as well, although both the US group and HMV have remained tightlipped. All HMV would say is that “the strategic review of the remaining Live business is ongoing and the
Company is currently in preliminary discussions regarding potential options for its disposal.”
City centre estate agents will be watching developments with interest.
HMV is expecting to post profits of at least £10 million this year from sales of gadgets such as iPads, the new Google Nexus tablet and wireless headphones – as well as its traditional sales of DVDs and CDs.
Manchester city centre management company Cityco has been working with the city council's corporate and regeneration officers on plans to create a city centre business improvement district (BID).
The BID would be located in the retail core area of Manchester city centre and would be a specific area where businesses pay an additional charge on their premises which are then funnelled into new services and initiatives.
There are already several existing BIDs in the north west of England, including Bolton, Blackpool, Oldham, Preston and two in Liverpool.
The Manchester BID would focus primarily on retail and any new services and initiatives would be aimed at increasing the retail success in Manchester city centre.
The proposals have now been tabled, and any business within the potential BID now need to vote on the formation of the new body which, if approved, would run for five years from next April.
Cityco will present a full report detailing the planned BID at a meeting of Manchester City Council's cabinet next Wednesday.
The development will be good news for city centre estate agents, as a revitalised and vibrant retail scene will only make Manchester city centre properties more attractive to potential homeowners.
Manchester city centre will soon be feeling the benefits of a new major development on Deansgate, with city centre estate agents taking note of the possible knock-on benefits for properties in the area.
Plans to redevelop the former county court building on the site have been in place since 2000, and it is only now that construction work has now been slated to begin. Locally-based firm Tolent Construction will start work this month on the development, which will eventually comprise 14,000 square feet of retail and leisure units alongside 13,500 square feet of office space. Tolent said that it hopes to complete the project by next summer.
The Grade II-listed building was first erected in 1896 and was used as the centre of the county courts for many decades, until the beginning of this century. In 2002, there were reports that the Marriott Hotel group were planning to develop it as a Manchester city centre site, but the project eventually stalled. The site was bought by Henry Boot Developments in 2008 and has been working on the current plans ever since. It is believed that 70 per cent of the units in the forthcoming development have already been let.