In exciting news for Greater Manchester, a huge new ice arena is coming to TraffordCity.
This follows the news that regeneration specialists Peel Waters have agreed terms with property investment company ICITIES to develop a brand-new ice arena in our region.
Planet Ice will be bringing their award-winning ice-leisure offer to TraffordCity, with the new ice arena being the brand’s biggest venue in the UK as well as their 15th Ice Arena in the country.
The purpose-built facility will feature a state-of-the-art ice rink, which will also convert into a multi-use event space.
The new 3-acre development will be situated next to the Chill Factore and iFLY, on the former Soccer Dome site which was cleared by Peel Waters last year in preparation for future leisure developments.
It’s just the latest exciting announcement for the area, with the first inland surf destination in the North of England also coming to TraffordCity, as well as the new Therme water park and wellbeing resort.
TraffordCity’s portfolio of sport-based leisure and experience offerings already includes skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, skydiving and Trafford Golf.
Nick Payne, Director of ICITIES, said: “This marks our first major project and our vision to develop best-in-class sports and leisure Stadiums and Arenas in the UK. We already enjoy a strong partnership with Planet Ice, and ice skating will be the cornerstone of many of our projects like this one at TraffordCity.
“This arena will be our showcase and we hope to attract other allied sports and entertainment operators to this project. Where we can, we would like to include facilities that educate and entertain children and the wider communities.
“Across the UK, there is a general lack of first-rate facilities for many event space operators, like virtual reality, Esports, racket sports as well as screening and live entertainment. This project at TraffordCity, like many others we plan to develop, will address this need.
“We are delighted to have signed this groundbreaking deal with Peel Waters within the neighbourhood they have created at TraffordCity which is a perfect mix of sports and leisure. We hope our development will add to the community and be a significant addition to TraffordCity which is already a world class retail and leisure destination.”
James Whittaker, Executive Director at Peel Waters, added: “Peel Waters is extremely pleased to have secured another brilliant attraction to TraffordCity. Planet Ice will be a huge success in TraffordCity and together with the existing and proposed diverse mix of offerings, we believe TraffordCity will be the UK’s best retail and leisure destination.
“Alongside boosting the local and visitor economy and attracting investment into the area, we are committed to increasing jobs and opportunities for our local community. Through our long-term vision for TraffordCity, Peel has helped create 17,500 jobs within the destination to date with plans to increase this to 33,000 over the next 20 years.
“This is great news to start off the year and 2024 promises to be another extremely exciting year for Peel Waters and TraffordCity!”
Heath Rhodes, COO of Planet Ice, also added: “We are delighted to announce our commitment to lease a new venue at TraffordCity. Peel Waters wants to attract the best leisure operators to TraffordCity, and we are keen to be working in partnership with them and ICITIES to develop a Planet Ice branded venue at this location.
“Situated next to the Chill Factore and with easy access to and from the M60 means our customers from Liverpool, Warrington and Manchester are all within close range.
“The venue will be very complementary to our existing facilities in the northwest, in particular Altrincham, where we are often at capacity. We plan to provide a large seating capacity at the new venue for on and off ice entertainment.
“Furthermore, we plan to invest in our Altrincham site, so having this new facility close by will allow our customers full access to ice during any works we do at Oakfield Road.”
It’s estimated that the build time of the ice arena and event space will be approximately 12-15 months – once the team starts on site.
The Body Shop to shut half its UK shops after falling into administration
Sad news for retail
The Body Shop is to shut half its stores across the UK resulting in hundreds of job losses.
It comes after the British cosmetics retailer announced it had fallen into administration last week, putting 2,000 jobs at risk.
Closures began yesterday (February 20th) with seven stores shutting: Ashford Town Centre, Kent, Bristol Queens Road, Bristol, Canary Wharf, London, Cheapside, London, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, Oxford Street-Bond Street, London and Surrey Quays, London.
More store closures are set to follow though no timeframe or dates have been announced as of yet.
Administrators FRP said the retailer’s current portfolio is ‘no longer viable’ after ‘years of unprofitability’ and that the cuts would ‘help re-energise’ the brand.
The Body Shop has around 198 shops in the UK and employs around 2,200 people, including 750 staff at its head office.
Around 270 head office jobs are being cut, reducing roles by 40% and leaving around 400 full-time employees. It will restructure roles at its head office to align with its more financially viable strategy going forward.
The Body Shop ambassador programme, where individuals sell the brand’s products for a commission, is also being closed, FRP said.
There will be a ‘renewed focus’ on products, online sales channels and wholesale as part of its restructuring.
FRP said: “A reduced store footprint, will coincide with a renewed focus on the brand’s products, online sales channels and wholesale strategies, bringing the brand in line with industry peers and supporting a return to financial stability.”
The Body Shop was founded by the pioneering British businesswoman and activist Dame Anita Roddick and her husband in 1976.
It established itself as a ground breaking ethical, sustainable brand, rejecting animal testing on cosmetics and promoting environmentally-friendly products and ethical sourcing practices.
The trailblazing brand has since faced tough competition from other ethical brands including Lush, which was co-founded by Mark Constantine – a former supplier to The Body Shop.
In 2006 the couple sold The Body Shop to French beauty giant L’Oreal.
The Brazilian beauty giant Natura acquired the brand from L’Oreal in 2017, and Aurelius bought The Body Shop for £207m at the end of last year.
Aggressive sales and discounting tactics are believed to have played a role in putting customers off being willing to pay full retail price for its products.
Hunt is on for mystery National Lottery winner in Greater Manchester
Could it be you?
The National Lottery is on the hunt for the missing winner of its Set For Life draw in Greater Manchester.
Lottery players in the city-region are being urged to check their tickets and claim their 10k-a-month prize for a whole year.
The search is now on to find the owner of the ticket – which was bought in Greater Manchester – who matched the five main numbers in the National Lottery Set For Life draw on February 5th.
The winning numbers on that date were: 3, 4, 8, 10, 28 and the Life Ball was 1.
But the lucky ticket-holder needs to act fast as they only have until August 3rd of this year to claim their prize. The missing winner, or winners if played as part of a syndicate, could be celebrating in style or jetting off on a luxury vacation now.
Andy Carter, Senior Winners Advisor at The National Lottery said: “If you bought a Set For Life ticket in Manchester for the draw on February 5th, it’s time to look everywhere – in the pockets of clothes you might have been wearing at the time, bags, in the car, wallets and purses and in that sideboard or drawer where we all tend to put bits and pieces – and check your tickets.
“Do you live or work in Manchester, do you have family and friends there who you were visiting or were you just passing through?
“We’re desperate to find this mystery ticket-holder and pay out their life-changing prize – imagine the possibilities for them for the next year.
“We have the champagne on ice and our fingers crossed that the lucky winner comes forward to claim their win.”
To help jog the memories of National Lottery players, here’s was happening in Manchester at the time the ticket was purchased: The day before the draw, Manchester United recorded a 3-0 home win against West Ham United while on February 5th, Manchester City travelled to Brentford and returned with all three points after a 3-1 win.
Players can buy and check their tickets online by downloading the National Lottery app or by visiting national-lottery.co.uk.
Anyone not in possession of their ticket, for whatever reason, but who believes they have a genuine claim to the prize can still write to Allwyn, as long as it is within 30 days of the draw.
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Constance Marten told to say baby died of cot death as tragic details revealed in court
The couple deny all charges
Constance Marten’s partner, Mark Gordon, told her to say the baby was a victim of cot death, the Old Bailey has heard.
On Monday (February 19th) jurors were played more of a police interview with Ms Marten, recorded on March 1st last year, just hours after her baby’s body was found in a shed in Brighton.
Marten, 36, and Gordon, 49, went on the run with their newborn daughter Victoria after their car caught flames and was abandoned by the motorway in Bolton in January 2023.
Fire crews recovering the vehicle discovered evidence of a birth in the back seat of the car.
As reported by the BBC, the court heard how the couple slept in a tent as they evaded authorities, in a bid to keep the baby after Marten’s four other children had been taken into care.
The jury heard Marten tell officers in the interview that she had considered handing herself in to police a couple of weeks after Victoria had died.
The couple are accused of her manslaughter by gross negligence – both deny the charge.
Marten told Gordon to say he was not present when their baby died because she wanted to protect him, ‘because obviously he’s my husband,’ she said.
She also told detectives that he advised her to say Victoria was a victim of cot death. She said: “Mark advised me to say that it was cot death… and that I wasn’t holding her.
“He advised me to say that I lay her down and then when we woke up she was on her front and she’d passed away.”
She went on to explain that what happened was not a cot death and that Mr Gordon might try to tell them it was ‘in order to protect’ her and her ‘interests’.
In the interview, Marten explained how Victoria died.
Warning: some readers may find the following information distressing.
She said she was feeling ‘extremely tired’ and had fallen asleep hugging Victoria, who was in her jacket. But she said the baby ‘wasn’t moving when I woke up’.
Marten wept as she told police how she came to realise their baby was not breathing. She said they had both tried to resuscitate Victoria but that there was no response to their attempts to revive her.
She said: “I tried to breathe in her mouth and pump her chest. So I wrapped her in a scarf and cradled her for a few minutes. I didn’t know what to do.”
Asked by a detective whether they called for help, Marten replied: “No because she was definitely not alive. I mean she wasn’t alive, so who’s going to help?”
In another police interview conducted on March 2nd, 2023, Marten said that they wrapped Victoria’s body in a black scarf and put her inside a supermarket bag. She explained: “It’s not particularly graceful but that’s all we had.”
She also said her and Gordon would take Victoria’s body out with them, saying: “We always carried Victoria with us… just because I didn’t want to leave her in a tent… a bit strange.”
She told detectives the bag became too heavy to carry and so they sometimes left it inside the tent they were sleeping in.
Marten said she and Gordon were both ‘distraught’ when Victoria died.
Asked how she was feeling after the birth of their daughter, she said: “I was feeling fine. I was elated to be with her actually. To be with one of my children. With Mark, together and parenting.
“It was a really nice Christmas period. I was very happy actually. Until all the media attention – that’s my experience.”
The court heard how the couple married in Peru seven years before Victoria’s death but that the marriage was ‘not recognised over here’.
As well as manslaughter, Marten and Gordon, of no fixed address, are also accused of four other offences: cruelty to their baby; concealment of the baby’s birth; causing or allowing her death; and perverting the course of justice by concealing the body. They deny all charges.
The trial, taking place at the Old Bailey, continues.