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The Manchester Christmas Markets is moving to Piccadilly Gardens this year

Big changes for the Christmas Markets this year…

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Manchester City Council & David Dixon / Geograph

Manchester’s beloved Christmas Markets are making a grand return to the city this year, but its main hub will be found in a different location.

While the heart of the markets is usually centered around Albert Square, ongoing renovations to the Town Hall have forced them to move to Piccadilly Gardens, the council have confirmed today.

The area will be transformed into the ‘Winter Gardens’, with all the usual yuletide bars, market stalls and food huts.

Plans for the Winter Gardens also include a one-way system and separate entrances and exits, as well as a strict limit on visitors to limit the spread of Covid-19.

David Dixon / Geograph

They are also adding a fully accessible toilet to make the Winter Garden as inclusive as possible.

Councillor Pat Karney, Manchester’s Christmas spokesperson, said: “It’s wonderful to welcome back our world-famous Christmas Markets and the addition of the Winter Gardens for the very first time.

“Manchester has been the capital of Christmas for twenty-two years since the very first Christmas Market arrived in the UK in 1999 and we know it was a huge disappointment that we had to scale back our celebrations last year.

“We’re making up for lost time this year and I can’t wait to see the transformation in the city centre into the festive wonderland we know and love.”

@mcrchristmasmarkets / Instagram

Last year, in what would have been the markets’ twenty-first birthday, the festivities were cancelled as a result of the pandemic, much to the dismay of Mancunians all across the region.

At the time, Councillor Karney said that even the proposed smaller markets didn’t meet public health approval, adding that the council ‘could never take any risks’ with people’s wellbeing.

He said: “We’ve cancelled everything. It’s not met our commercial and public health tests, so the three markets in those locations have been cancelled, and won’t take place. It was a million miles from the traditional Christmas Markets, which obviously people would have been very anxious about.”

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Band of Gold and Fat Friends creator Kay Mellor dies aged 71

A cause of death is yet to be confirmed

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ITV

Kay Mellor, the creator of Band of Gold and Fat Friends, has died at the age of seventy-one.

Leeds-born Mellor was known best for creating and writing the ITV series Fat Friends, which is credited with launching James Corden’s career.

She also wrote comedy and drama series such as The Syndicate, Girlfriends and Band of Gold, and spent time working on ITV soap Coronation Street.

A spokesperson for her TV production company, Rollem Productions, has today confirmed ‘with profound sadness’ that Mellor passed away on Sunday, May 15th.

The spokesperson said: “It is with profound sadness that we announce the untimely and sudden passing of our beloved friend, mentor and colleague Kay Mellor on Sunday 15th May 2022.

“We have lost a phenomenal talent and a true luminary. We ask that you please respect the privacy of the family and friends at this time.”

The BBC’s chief content officer Charlotte Moore has also paid tribute to Mellor following her death, saying she is ‘shocked’ and ‘deeply saddened’ by the news.

Moore said in a statement: “Kay was an outstanding writer and the creative force behind many of the nation’s best-loved television dramas.

“She wrote with such heart, humanity, humour and passion with strong female characters often taking centre stage.”

Katherine Morley, who worked with Kay on The Syndicate, also paid tribute to Mellor in a touching post on Twitter, writing: “I am in complete shock and utterly heartbroken to hear about Kay Mellor.

“She showed me so much kindness from the moment we met and she made everyone’s lives that bit brighter.

“I’m honoured to have known her and even more grateful for the opportunity she gave me.”

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Three-year-old boy mauled to death in ‘devastating’ dog attack in Rochdale

GMP have confirmed they are probing ‘previous incidents involving dogs’ at the same property

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Michael Ely / Geograph

A three-year-old boy has died following a ‘devastating’ dog attack in Rochdale yesterday afternoon.

Officers were called out to a property near Carr Lane in Milnrow, Rochdale, at around 1:15pm on Sunday, May 15th, to reports of a dog attack.

Upon their arrival, the toddler was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, where he was tragically pronounced dead.

Police said they believe he ‘succumbed to injuries received as a result of a dog attack’.

Detective Superintendent Jamie Daniels of GMP’s Public Protection and Serious Crime Division said the force was probing ‘previous incidents involving dogs’ at the property.

No arrests have been made at this stage, though officers are continuing their enquiries today.

Detective Superintendent Daniels said: “This is a tragic, devastating incident and our thoughts are with the family at this horrendous time.

“We are investigating the incident and previous incidents involving dogs at this address.

“While our enquiries to find out what happened will be thorough and are very much in their infancy, we suspect that this little boy has, sadly, succumbed to injuries received as a result of a dog attack.

“I understand this is an extremely distressing incident for all concerned and this news will rock the local community.

Greater Manchester Police / Facebook

“I can only assure everyone that we will work relentlessly to establish the full circumstances that led to this tragedy and while we retain an open mind, this is now being dealt with as a criminal investigation.

“There will be a significant police presence in the area – we will be there to carry out an investigation and address any concerns residents may have.”

Anyone with information should call police on 0161 856 5413 quoting incident 1615 of 15/05/2022.

Information can also be reported online or by using the LiveChat function at www.gmp.police.uk. If you can’t report online, call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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Andy Burnham reveals new Clean Air Zone plan would be a ‘non-charging zone’

Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Zone was supposed to come into force this month, but was pushed back following region-wide back lash

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BBC

Mayor Andy Burnham has revealed he will be requesting permission to have a non-charging clean air zone for Greater Manchester.

Since its announcement last year, the controversial plans to charge certain motorists to drive within Greater Manchester was met with overwhelming backlash, with many saying the proposed Clean Air Zone would leave small and independent businesses bankrupt.

The charges, which were originally poised to come into force in this month, would have included £60 for HGVs, buses and coaches, £10 for vans and £7.50 for taxis and private hire cars.

Following region-wide protests on the matter, Greater Manchester Councils voted to refer the scheme back to the government at the start of the year, with them now having until July 2022 to revise the plan.

And giving an update on the progress of the revised scheme at a press conference this morning, the mayor unveiled his plans to introduce a new ‘non-charging’ zone for the region.

As reported by the BBC’s Kevin Fitzpatrick, Burnham outlined a new plan for a ‘non-charging zone’, that affects buses, coaches, HGVs and taxis.

Read More: Boris Johnson says Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Zone is ‘completely unworkable’

These vehicles will reportedly be offered grants to ‘upgrade to cleaner vehicles rather than face daily charges’, though the government will have the final say on this. 

Burnham will be requesting permission from the government to implement this newly revised scheme before the July 2022 deadline.

The Clean Air Zone was originally designed in an attempt to ‘protect everyone’s health by bringing harmful nitrogen dioxide air pollution at the roadside within legal limits’.

The government initiated the idea after the Supreme Court found it had broken the law by failing to protect people from polluted air.

In response, they placed legal instructions to ‘clean up the air’ on local councils across the country, with all ten Greater Manchester councils being directed to collectively reduce air pollution across the region by 2024.

Visit the official Clean Air Greater Manchester website for more information.

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