All current Covid restrictions in place across England are to be scrapped ‘within days’, new reports are suggesting.
The Plan B restrictions – which include the use of face masks in all shops, schools and on public transport, a work from home order for businesses and the controversial Covid passports – are to be reviewed in nine days time on January 26th.
However, a senior government official has now claimed that instead of being reviewed, all of the measures currently in place under the plan will be lifted.
Speaking anonymously to the Sunday Express, the government source said that Health Secretary Sajid Javid ‘feels confident’ about the decision because of the falling number of cases and growing evidence that Omicron is not as dangerous as other variants.
They added: “Sajid is sure now that the restrictions will not go beyond the sunset clause date.”
However, the Express also reports that the move could be Boris Johnson’s way of staying in power after he was allegedly told by senior Conservative backbenchers that he would face a leadership vote of confidence if he tried to bring in more restrictions.
101 Conservative MPs reportedly opposed the current restrictions in a Commons rebellion just before Christmas.
Though this won’t be the first change in Covid policy experienced this year; just last week, the health secretary reduced the self-isolation period for those who test positive with Covid from seven days to five.
From today, January 17th, those who are fully vaccinated and test positive can leave self-isolation if they test negative on days five and six – the original self-isolation period was ten days.
Javid revealed the decision in a Commons statement to MPs last week, citing data from the UK Health Security Agency and saying: “Two-thirds of positive cases are no longer infectious by the end of day five.”
Manchester’s derelict arches set to be transformed into food, drink and retail destination
The plans will transform the empty site into a trendy new hangout for tenants and working professionals
Several derelict railway arches in a forgotten corner of Manchester are set to become a new food, drink, leisure and retail destination.
The council have granted planning permission to revamp the 10 arches, located on Corporation Street in Red Bank, with the project to be undertaken by The Arch Company – which has also secured permission from Salford Council to transform a further 10 arches, located on Norton Street in the Green Quarter.
The vision is to turn the area, near Angel Meadow, into a street of arches that appeal to potential residents looking to move to a trendy area, with plenty to do, in the city.
The company has pitched the development as a plan to transform the arches into a new destination ‘for food and drink, leisure and retail businesses to occupy’, while respecting and maintaining the city’s industrial history.
Santosh Patel, from Pick Everard – the construction consultants brought into the project – said: “Manchester is famously proud of its industrial heritage, and this project not only maintains and celebrates that history, but rejuvenates it in an exciting and innovative way to bring added social value to the city’s modern landscape and its residents.
“Seeing this project to completion will bring a new offering to Manchester, further regenerating its town centre in a way that makes sense within its larger community.”
“The new spaces present a great opportunity for independent retail, restaurant, and other leisure businesses to develop in an area that will grow and thrive with them,” he added.
However, breathing new life into deteriorating Victorian railway arches will not be without its challenges as Alan Soper, studio director at SGP, highlighted that one issue on Corporation Street was ‘substantial level differences from the front to the rear of many of the units’.
He added that ‘clever design’ was needed for requirements like fire escapes — because the arches back on to the River Irk, so an exit route can only go through the front.
Mr Soper said: “By any standards, arches are not a ‘normal’ building type and each can differ considerably in height, depth and shape, realising the potential of these previously overlooked spaces takes experience and good technical know-how if we are to refurbish them to modern occupancy standards.”
“Our previous experience with old, historic or listed properties, and the ability to work within the existing building fabric, has proved invaluable in realising some of these schemes, as, too, has our technical knowledge of building regulations, particularly in relation to ventilation and fire security,” he added.
Both the Manchester and Salford arches developments form part of Project 1000, The Arch Company’s £200m plan to bring 1,000 empty or derelict spaces into use across England and Wales by 2030.
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Urgent appeal to find missing teenager from Stretford
Have you seen Leon?
Concerns grow as police make an urgent appeal to find a missing teenage boy from Trafford.
Leon, 17, was last seen on Gorse Street in Stretford at 8.30pm on Saturday, February 24th.
He is described as being 5 ft 7 ins tall, with brown hair and glasses.
Leon was last seen wearing a black and green jacket, red hoodie, grey jogging bottoms and black trainers.
Greater Manchester Police officers are becoming increasingly concerned about Leon and want to make sure that he is safe and well.
Anyone with information about Leon’s whereabouts should contact police on 101 quoting log 1654 of 25/02/24.
Man, 27, killed after Audi crashes into wall as police appeal for information
A 27-year-old man has been arrested
Police are appealing for information after a man was killed when a car smashed into a wall in Stockport.
A 27-year-old man has been arrested in relation to the tragic incident.
An Audi S3 was travelling North East along Broadstone Road on Saturday night when it collided with the Houldsworth Mill external perimeter wall, opposite the Grey Horse Public House, police said.
The man, a 27-year-old passenger, sadly died in the collision which happened at around 6pm on Saturday, February 24th.
Emergency services rushed to attend the scene of the incident but the passenger sadly passed away. The man’s next of kin have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.
The driver of the vehicle, a 27-year-old man, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and remains in custody while enquiries continue.
Greater Manchester Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit (SCIU) are now appealing to anyone who may have witnessed the incident to make a report.
They are also keen to speak to anyone who may have any footage – including dashcam, CCTV, or mobile phone footage – from the area in the moments leading up to the collision.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 0161 856 4741, quoting log number 2429 of 25/02/24.
Information can also be shared using GMP’s ‘tell us about’ tool or LiveChat function on the force’s website: www.gmp.police.uk.