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Andy Burnham wants to take Manchester’s ’embarrassing’ train stations back into local control

The mayor says Manchester has been ‘left out’ when it comes to train station investments

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Paul Hermans / Wikimedia Commons

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has said he wants to take control of Manchester’s five city centre train stations, saying they are ’embarrassing’ to the industry.

Just one month after a judge ruled in favour of the mayor taking Greater Manchester buses back under public control, Burnham plans to order the government to invest in the city’s train stations or hand over the control.

Burnham believes the five city centre stations – Piccadilly, Victoria, Oxford Road, Deansgate and Salford Central – have been neglected by the railway industry for decades, with none of them having seen any substantial investment in that time.

He told The Manchester Evening News: “These stations in city centre Manchester are an embarrassment to the rail industry because they are outliers in the city.

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“You’ve got modern buildings where thousands of people are working in a really attractive environment and stations that are just nowhere near the same level. It’s really something that can’t be allowed to continue.”

Burnham claimed that Manchester has been ‘left out’ when it comes to investments, pointing out that Piccadilly Station hasn’t had ‘substantial’ investment since the late nineties, while others have waited even longer.

Read More: Andy Burnham wants to add £22 to council tax to pay for buses, fire service and police

He described Salford Central station as ‘dangerous’ due to the ‘massive gap’ between platforms and the trains forcing people to ‘jump onto the platform’, while one platform at Oxford Road has no disability access.

Platforms 13 and 14 at Piccadilly Station are also not a ‘safe environment’, and Deansgate ‘gets dark at night’ and ‘isn’t modern’, according to the mayor.

Burnham explained that he would eventually like full control of all ninety-eight Greater Manchester train stations, saying the region would take an ‘innovative approach’ by working with the property industry to ‘maximise the value of the assets’ and generate an income which would be reinvested in the stations.

He also said he wants to make all stations in Manchester’s city centre as ‘modern’ and ‘attractive’ as all of the Metrolink stations currently managed by TfGM. 

He said: “London has got stations where they have built property above those station because it’s an attractive thing – you’re building for public transport.

“You’re building flats that are highly connected. It’s very easy to live in a place above a transport interchange. Maybe not everyone wants to live there, but younger people might and it’s much more convenient.”

Devolution talks are expected to start in May after the local elections.

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Ikea ‘collect near you’ hubs to launch in several Greater Manchester Tescos

It’s the retailer collab we didn’t know we needed…

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Steve Webel / Flickr & Tesco PLC / Flickr

A number of Tesco supermarkets in Greater Manchester are set to host Ikea ‘collect near you’ points as part of an ‘exciting’ new pilot.

Tesco Extra Stockport and Tesco Extra Bolton Horwich will both see IKEA ‘collect near you’ bays installed in their car parks in an attempt to reduce delivery costs from the furniture retailer.

Customers will be able to meet with a delivery driver at the designated collection bays to pick up their orders in a move that IKEA says will ‘make it easier than ever’ to shop with them.

Seven Tesco stores in total have been selected for the collaboration’s initial rollout, including sites in Liverpool, Blackburn, and Doncaster.

Manchester | Stores - IKEA

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Tesco Blackburn will be the first supermarket to launch the trial next month on October 10th, with other sites set to follow later this year.

Tesco is set to run the trial for an initial period of six months.

An Ikea spokesperson said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with Tesco to test and trial more convenient, accessible and affordable collection services in the UK.

“The pilot will launch in Bolton and Stockport later this year. While we are unable to share exact dates at the moment, we will be sure to share further details in the coming months.”

Retail analyst Natalie Berg named the collaboration as ‘interesting’, writing on Twitter: “Really interesting IKEA/Tesco collab. Ikea gets the need to become more accessible (despite the ££) and imagine more pressing now w/ consumers shying away from big-ticket buys and consolidating trips.”

However, she added that customers will still need to spend £200 for the ‘free’ collection.

The full list of trial sites is:

  • Tesco Blackburn Superstore.
  • Tesco Doncaster Extra.
  • Tesco Cambridge Newmarket Road Superstore.
  • Tesco Dereham Extra.
  • Tesco Bolton Horwich Extra.
  • Tesco Stockport Extra.
  • Tesco Liverpool Old Swan Superstore.

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Toys ‘R’ Us relaunches in the UK just in time for Christmas

Shoppers can browse a selection of over 14,000 toys from 100 suppliers

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Flickr

Toys ‘R’ Us has officially relaunched its UK website with thousands of toys and gadgets up for grabs.

The online shop has over 14,000 toys from over 100 suppliers for sale, including toys by Lego, Marvel, Star Wars, Crayola and Play-Doh.

Free delivery is available for all orders over £20, while next-day delivery is up for grabs on orders placed before 6pm.

A message on the website reads: “We’re back! We can’t wait to develop and grow with you and your loved ones, over the coming weeks, months and years!”

The store has also re-opened its sister site Babies ‘R’ Us, which sells everything from pushchairs, prams, children’s clothing and baby carriers.

This news comes nearly a year after the retailer initially announced it would be returning to the high street – in October 2021, its parent firm signed a long-term exclusive licence agreement to relaunch the stores across the UK from 2022 onwards.

After struggling to keep up with the new age of online shopping, Toys ‘R’ Us was forced to close all of its UK and US stores back in 2018, much to the dismay of those who grew up with the retailer throughout the 2000s. 

Toys ‘R’ Us Australia chief executive Louis Mittoni, who has spearheading the UK launch, said in a statement at the time: “I’m very excited to welcome over 100 years of retailing experience in our new team, who will lead the relaunch our iconic brand back into the UK market in the next few months.

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“We have an amazing toy and baby buying team, which I believe is the best in the country.

“With this team now in place, we’re hitting the ground running and have been reaching out to the supply base to see with whom we can align on this amazing journey.”

Toys ‘R’ Us launched in the UK in 1985, when it emerged as the ‘world’s first toy supermarket’.

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Ian Brown’s brutal response to fan who asked why he played gig without a band

A number of fans have criticised the singer for performing alone without a band

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@jasonmansell7 & @aidankeating03 / Twitter

Ian Brown gave a savage response to a fan last night following the controversy surrounding his solo Leeds gig over the weekend.

The Stone Roses frontman kick started his first UK tour in a decade at the Leeds O2 Academy on Sunday, with him due to perform at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse this Friday (September 30th). 

However, many fans were left disappointed by Brown’s performance thanks to the absence of the rest of the band, with one concert-goer describing it as him ‘[doing] karaoke and butchering his own tunes.’

Alongside of a video showing Brown singing alone on an empty stage, fan Steven Latham wrote: “Gutted to see @ianbrown turn up to his £40 a ticket, sold out gig at Leeds tonight WITH NO BAND.

I’m a life long fan but it was bad. #ianbrown does karaoke and butchers his own tunes. Most were too p****d to care but I had to get out after this one.”

Another fan slammed the singer for not giving musicians the opportunity to make some money ‘after a difficult few years’, writing: “Musicians and crew need work after a difficult few years.

“Ian Brown can afford to employ people but don’t quite get why he chooses not to?”

However, this comment seemingly touched a nerve with Brown, who scathingly replied in a now-deleted tweet: “I have a crew of 12 out on the road with me [sic] What’s it got to do with you you jealous p***k?”

Ian Brown / Twitter

The singer also took the time to respond to other fans who enjoyed last night’s concert in Glasgow, with him writing: “GLASGOW. HATERS HATE AND LOVERS LOVE!”

Other concert-goers praises Brown’s performance last night, with another fan noting: “Far more honest to play to a backing track on your own, than be in a band pretending to be 100% live yet playing along to a backing track.”

A second added: “This was an amazing show. Cool and surprising concept for Ian Brown to just present himself, the man and king on stage. He sounded great. Fans had a great time.”

Ian Brown’s headline tour continues tonight in Edinburgh, with following shows scheduled for Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and London.

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