The battle to have an underground through-station built at Manchester Piccadilly – rather than a huge ‘unsightly’ overhead concrete viaduct – will head to Parliament today.
Manchester City Council Leader Bev Craig will today make the case for the Government to rethink their plans about the HS2 plans through our city.
Cllr Craig is calling for plans for a Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) underground station to be kept firmly on the table.
The alternative would be an overground turnback station, requiring a six-track-wide viaduct that would carve through communities in the Ardwick area.
Manchester City Council, alongside other Greater Manchester partners, will argue that an underground through-station is ‘the right solution’ and a pivotal piece in the NPR-HS2 puzzle.
They say that an underground NPR-HS2 station would offer up a chance to level up the Piccadilly area, supporting 14,000 jobs, new housing, green space and adding £333 million A YEAR more in benefits by 2050 to the local economy than the overground proposal.
Councillor Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “We are urging the Government to learn from mistakes elsewhere and build the right station for Manchester that will better serve us for the next century. Our railway system needs investment now and for the future.
“HS2 will provide much needed extra capacity on our already congested rail network, improve connections between the north of England, West Midlands and London and act as a catalyst to wider economic growth.
“But the current plan for an overground station that travels into the city on concrete stilts, with limited resilience and likely to be at full capacity from day one, is the wrong one. It might be cheaper in the short-term but this penny-wise, pound-foolish approach will cost the city and the North much more in missed opportunities.
“We need to ‘build it right and build it once’ with an underground station, which increases capacity and connectivity for the whole of the North, while providing a world-class welcome to the heart of our city-region. Cities across the world are future proofing their cities by building their new stations underground, just like in London.
“An underground through-station is the only way to deliver Northern Powerhouse Rail in full and, by having it underground, we get to create more jobs and put more money back into the Manchester and UK economy. It also means we avoid unsightly concrete viaducts, the height of three double-decker buses, cutting through communities and prime city centre development land being swallowed.”
Andy Burnham added: “Manchester Piccadilly will be at the heart of the country’s high-speed network but if we fail to invest in Manchester’s rail links, we risk continuing to repeat the mistakes of the past.
“Getting better east-west connectivity is the single biggest transport policy priority not just in the North of England, but the whole country. Government needs to look at the bigger picture here, because this is a decision which shapes our future and they are at risk of getting it seriously wrong.
“We stand shoulder to shoulder with Cllr Craig’s call for an underground station at Piccadilly because if we get the wrong solution, it will limit economic growth, limit opportunities for local businesses and people, and to leave us with the wrong railway for another century would be a hammer blow to Levelling Up our country.”
Featured image:Manchester City Council
Sir David Jason set for TV return in Only Fools and Horses documentary Christmas special
In a surprise bit of festive news, the only and only Sir David Jason is returning for an Only Fools and Horses Christmas special this December. Lovely jubbly!
The best-loved and most-watched British comedy of all time will be back on our screens in documentary form this festive season, with Del Boy himself David Jason revisiting the iconic comedy character after 20 years he last played him on screen.
While the legendary sitcom was broadcast on BBC back in the day, the highly-anticipated Only Fools doc will be airing on Channel 5 right before Christmas as a special one-off programme.
Looking back on the show’s incredible run on UK screens over seven series and the several ‘Christmas Cracker’ specials, specifically, the latest Only Fools and Horses documentary will see Jason and a number of other guests appearing to chat about the legendary show.
While it’s still unclear how many of the original cast will be appearing, Jason’s on-screen wife Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel) is confirmed to be appearing along with other special guests including newscaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Bendiorm‘s Sherrie Hewson.
Sadly, a full theatrical reunion just isn’t on the cards following the deaths of Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger), Kenneth MacDonald (Mike the Landlord) and Buster Merryfield (Uncle Albert) in the 30 years since the show ended its run.
Only Fools writer John Sullivan also sadly passed away aged 64 in 2011 and fellow co-star Nicholas Lyndhurst, a.k.a. Rodney Trotter, told Metro: “We can’t. John is no longer with us. John was the driving force of the show and we have also lost quite a few cast members now.
“I don’t think I could do it without them and I certainly couldn’t do it without John. At the risk of depressing everyone, I think the last two times I’ve seen David has been at funerals.”
Simply entitled, ‘The Story Of Only Fools And Horses At Christmas’, the 90-minute special is yet to have its broadcast date fully confirmed but you best keep your eyes peeled on the TV guide — we’ll let you know as soon we do.
Jason, 81, has only just recovered from hip surgery earlier this year, so it’ll be nice to see his familiar grin back on our screens.
Right, we’re off to binge a whole series on UK Gold.
Habas restaurant in Manchester announces shock closure – with huge closing-down discount
Habas, the Middle Eastern restaurant launched by the team behind El Gato Negro, has announced its shock closure.
The subterranean restaurant will be going out with a bang though, promising one last knees-up with a big discount.
Habas will be doing 25% off its entire food and drink menu this New Year’s Eve so that fans of the eatery can raise a glass to the Manchester restaurant.
They’re also hoping that Mancs will raise a glass to new beginnings, teasing a brand new concept.
Habas is located at Brown Street in Manchester city centre and has been serving up its Middle Eastern menu since 2021.
It comes from Mills Hill Developments Limited, the company also responsible for El Gato Negro and Canto, fronted by celebrated chef Simon Shaw.
Habas has stressed that its closure ‘is not forever’ as it announces details of its New Year’s Eve closing down party.
You can ring in the new year with a selection of mezze dishes, sharing platters and small plates, feasting on chicken tagine and traditional tzatziki, all 25% off on Sunday 31 December.
Drinks, too, like the cranberry elderflower martini, blackberry ginger smash and clementine daquiri will be with 25% off.
Simon Shaw, Chef Parton at Mills Hill Developments Limited, said: “As of January 2024, we have made the decision to close the doors of Habas Bar & Restaurant, however we are thrilled to announce that our Brown Street venue has an exciting new concept on the way.
“Throughout December, Habas, will continue serving up the city’s best middle-eastern cuisine, so make sure you pop in and see us. AND on New Year’s Eve, Habas, will be hosting an unforgettable celebration with 25% off food and drinks. We want to rejoice with all of our customers, with one final hurrah!
“We would like to thank all of our guests and reassure Habas fans that this is not the end of Habas Bar & Restaurant forever, simply a farewell from Brown Street for now.
“We look forward to welcoming you to our new exciting concept in Q1 of 2024.”