In The Sunday Times’ definitive list of the best places to live in 2022, two Greater Manchester locations reigned supreme.
The newspaper’s annual Best Places to Live list is compiled through a number of factors that make for an idyllic neighbourhood, whether it be the number of pubs available or the accessibility to local beauty spots.
This year in the wake of the pandemic, the list took a focus on the health of the local high street, the performances from local schools and broadband speeds thanks to the new-found importance of working from home.
Ilkley in West Yorkshire was ultimately crowned as the best place to live in the UK, with Lancashire town Trawden coming in at second place.
And while they didn’t come out as the winners, two Greater Manchester towns made it onto the prestigious as two of the best places in the whole region.
Here’s what had to be said…
Altrincham’s now famed high street and market were two of the main factors for its place in the list, with the recent rejuvenation of the market transforming ‘a posh but dead dormitory suburb into a sociable place for the affluent families’.
The Times described Alty market as ‘the star’, pointing out that on most days of the week, there is no need for locals to look elsewhere for fresh produce.
Another one of Alty’s trump cards is its variety of great green spaces, which includes the ‘glorious gardens and deer park’ of Dunham Massey, Stamford Park and walking trails down by the River Bollin.
The town’s situation in the region was also noted, with trams reaching the city centre in twenty-five-minutes and a drive to Manchester Airport taking just fifteen minutes down the M6.
Altrincham also boasts some of the ‘best schools in the land’, with more than fifteen Ofsted-outstanding primaries being situated within three miles of the town.
However, the postcode does carry with it an expensive price tag, with the article admitting: “Money no object? Today, residents are more likely to be fancily paid footballers.”
Terraced houses on a more affordable scale can be found on the leafy streets near Stamford Park or the Downs, but still starting from a hefty price of £450,000.
The Sunday Times described Prestwich as ‘Manchester’s funkiest family suburb’ thanks to its interesting mix of old and new, no-frills joints and ‘star’ tram connections to and from the city centre.
Bury New Road gets a special mention in the piece, with the writer noting how you can ‘hardly move here for craft beers, cocktails, oat lattes and smoothies’, something that can give you an idea of the new demographic.
When it comes to food and drink, Keg, Cask & Bottle and Grape to Grain all get a mention, as well as Osma, ‘an upmarket Scandi restaurant’ which features in the Michelin Guide 2022.
They also commended the high street’s wonderful mix of old and new, which has with everything you need ‘from a Greggs’ sausage roll to sourdough and organic veg at the Village Greens co-operative’.
In terms of transport, ‘the tram is the star’, with it running from Prestwich and Heaton Park into the centre of Manchester in just twenty minutes. Cyclists can also reach the city in thirty minutes, which is about the same amount of time it would take by car.
If for those looking to buy with ‘big bucks’, the grand detached properties on Sheepfoot Lane will be first choice.
Otherwise, Prestwich proves to be a much more affordable choice than Altrincham, with the average house price for the area being a reasonable £246,000.
Read The Sunday Times’ Best Places to Live list here.
Ikea ‘collect near you’ hubs to launch in several Greater Manchester Tescos
It’s the retailer collab we didn’t know we needed…
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.
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.
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
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.
“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’.
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
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?”
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.