Many hospitality businesses are fearing for their futures after three years of interrupted trade, forced closures, a staff exodus and rising costs.
One thing they all seem to agree on is that additional outdoor seating was hugely beneficial for bringing in trade during the pandemic, and they’d like it back A.S.A.P.
Unfortunately, the temporary Covid rules that allowed for easy street closures and licenses have now expired – leaving some (but not all) struggling businesses at the mercy of the long-winded and expensive Highways application system.
So now, as summer approaches and some Northern Quarter venues are retaining their pavement seating by other means, Manchester businesses are making a concerted push to create change around the rules to level the playing field.
In a bid to support his own business and those of friends and neighbours nearby, Andy Young, the owner of the Northern Quarter dessert bar Black Milk Cereal, has launched a petition to bring back rules introduced during Covid that allow extra outdoor seating for hospitality – and hopes to have it in place by this summer.
Calling for these rules to be made permanent, he told The Manc that many of his neighbours are still struggling to recover, but that such a change would bring a huge boost in revenue and help people pay off Government loans.
At a count, he pointed out a number of streets that have been left behind this summer – including Ancoats’ Blossom Street, Houldsworth Street, Peter Street and Tarriff Street – as well as making reference to how the street closures benefitted those in Manchester’s Gay Village.
The petition, which went live on Thursday night, explains that hospitality businesses are still ‘hugely affected’ by the lasting impact of COVID.
It continues: “This is a revenue-neutral way to help them recover fiscally and pay off Government loans like Bounce Back, CIBLS, and Recover Loans.
“It also has a significant impact on local communities, with friends, families and loved ones able to enjoy food and drink outside in the sun.”
Currently, businesses need to apply – at a cost – for a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) or Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO), in order to trade on the street/road.
This process (unlike the temporary scheme legislation now revoked by Parliament) also requires a full consultation and planning consent, which can take a significant amount of time. Time that many feel they don’t have.
Black Milk is not the only business to have been making noise about the need for the extension of Covid outdoor seating rules this summer.
Nearby bar Alvarium’s owners made headlines just last week after sharing a heartfelt plea, in which they warned ‘the consequences could be detrimental’ if they are not granted a road closure this summer.
Speaking to The Manc about the need for more outdoor seating, Alvarium owner Braddan Quayle said: “For me, it’s an absolute no-brainer.
“It saved a lot of businesses and more importantly a lot of jobs over the pandemic and as we discussed we’re still suffering from a hangover which has been said by people like Sacha Lord could take up to five years so why are we not being given the tools to prosper?
“We would have to pay for tables and chairs licenses so the local council would recoup some of the money back that they’ve had to spend, so like I say it’s a no brainer and it’s frustrating that nothing is being done about it and shunting the blame onto Westminster is not an answer and no, unfortunately, shouldn’t be an answer either.”
The petition reads in full: “Due to Covid the Government relaxed rules for restaurants, cafes and bars to get licences for outdoor seating, and also rules for local authorities to make Traffic Orders, including closing roads to enable outdoor hospitality. We want these changes made permanent, to support hospitality businesses.
“Provisions relating to outdoor table & chairs licences expire later this year, and relaxed rules for making Traffic Orders to put seating on roads have already fallen. We want both made permanent in time for this summer.
“Hospitality businesses are still hugely affected by the lasting impact of COVID.
“This is a revenue neutral way to help them recover fiscally and pay off Government loans like Bounce Back, CIBLS, and Recover Loans.
“It also has a significant impact on local communities, with friends, families and loved ones able to enjoy food and drink outside in the sun.
“Summer is coming; please act urgently to save it for small businesses. Sign this petition.”
If you want to sign the petition, you can do so here. If it reaches 10,000 signatures it will be responded to by Parliament and if it reaches 100,000 it will be considered for debate.
Feature image – Black Milk / Alvarium
Police appeal for information regarding ‘serious assault’ around Old Trafford before United game in October
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are appealing for fresh information on a “serious assault” committed around the Old Trafford area earlier this year.
GMP issued a press release on Friday, 9 December, asking for members of the public to come forward and share any details they might have on the attack carried along Seymour Grove in Trafford around 1:30pm on 16 October 2022.
They go on to explain that “a man in his 20s was assaulted by a group of unknown males” on the way to the game at Old Trafford, adding that “it is believed that the suspects were also attending the Manchester United vs Newcastle United match.”
It remains unclear whether or not the assailants were travelling fans in town to support the away side but GMP are looking to speak to the men pictured as they may be able to help with enquiries.
As detailed in the statement, “the victim suffered a severely broken jaw, a broken nose, numerous cuts to the face, and damage to the nerves of four teeth which he is likely to need further medical treatment for.” Terrible stuff.
The authorities are continuing to investigate the Seymour Grove assault after having followed up on a number of lines of enquiry since the incident took place and are now asking for the public’s help.
Anyone with information, or anyone who may have footage/images, or can identify the men in the photos, can contact Greater Manchester Police on 101, quoting log number 1589 on 16/10/22; or, alternatively use the Live Chat service HERE.
Alternatively, information can be shared anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Featured Image — Greater Manchester Police/David Dixon (via Geograph)
Football fans call out ‘tone-deaf’ FA TikTok for mocking ‘life-threatening’ head injury
Football fans are calling out the official FA Cup TikTok account for mocking a serious head injury suffered by a Stockport County player earlier this week.
The Hatters beat Charlton Athletic in fine fashion with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday, 7 December, with Will Collar’s hattrick (the club’s first since 2019) sending them through to the next round of the cup.
However, another notable moment from the night was right back Macauley Southam-Hales’ collision with advertising hoarders after a shove from Charlton captain George Dobson.
As the likes of County fan Joel Ward wrote on Twitter, many online were quick to slam the clip for joking about an injury that hospitalised the player, the consensus being that it isn’t a “great look” for the FA.
While many reacting in the comments recognised that Dobson didn’t intend to hurt Southam-Hales by shepherding the ball out of play, the Stockport defender does hit the predominantly metal structure with some force and was left in clear discomfort following the smash.
The video itself has since been removed from the official account following the backlash but people are still reacting as the clip continues to be reshared on social media.
The clip was branded as everything from “disgusting” and “disgraceful” to “simply unbelievable”.
What’s most concerning is that despite the recent push to promote awareness surrounding concussions, brain trauma and even heading the ball – which, historically, haven’t been properly monitored in football – whoever posted the video on behalf of the FA didn’t consider the very serious nature of the incident.
As alluded to above, perhaps what makes the post even more shocking and tone-deaf is that it comes just weeks after Bath City player forward Alex Fletcher was placed in intensive care following an almost identical accident.
The 23-year-old underwent life-saving brain surgery and although he has since been discharged from the hospital, he is said to have a “long road to recovery ahead of him”.
County confirmed that despite being the all-clear pitchside, Southam-Hales was taken to the hospital as a precaution after he suffered significant swelling around the neck area. Nevertheless, as we know all too well, it could have been much worse.
As for the FA, they have now apologised for the inappropriate attempt at humour, confirming that they have removed the video from all official accounts, admitting that “it should never have been published and assuring that they will “review [their] processes to ensure this never happens again.”
You can watch the full highlights from Stockport County vs Charlton Athletic HERE but we’d recommend you watch Alan Shearer reminding everyone who plays football to be more vigilant when it comes to head injuries.