Jun 06, 2023Jun 06, 2023

STARYARD phase two will feature a podcast studio. Credit: via The Six Hundred

SHIP SHAPE… Not everyone wants to work in an all-singing, all-dancing city centre office. Some are content with a metal crate. Demand for space at Birkenhead's STARTYARD is a testament to that. The company behind the scheme is now looking to expand, adding 10 shipping container pods to serve a growing cohort of creative start-ups. The next phase will include a meeting room, podcast studio, and a green room for video production.

Fantastic speech tonight by @AndrewHWestern on the case for releasing green belt land within 1 mile of a railway station for housing:

— Rory Meakin (@rorymeakin) June 5, 2023

DEAF EARS… Like the proverbial tree in a forest, if a pro-development politician gives an impassioned plea for Green Belt release in an almost empty House of Commons, will it make a blind bit of difference? New Stretford and Urmston MP Andrew Western stood up in the Commons this week to proclaim himself a proud YIMBY and emphasise the importance of freeing up Green Belt land in tackling the housing crisis. Alas, the house, as it often seems to be, was almost empty.

The two companies have worked together for 20 years. Credit: via Plus Dane

QUIDS IN… Somewhere in Liverpool there is a builder showing photographs of every brick he's had the pleasure to know. Penny Lane Builders has had a good week. The Liverpool-based contractor has bagged a nine-figure, five-year contract – which could increase to 10 years subject to performance – with Plus Dane Housing to deliver general maintenance works. As they say: In for a penny, in for £167m.

IT WAS ALL YELLOW… PLB is not the only company celebrating a win this week. Seddon's painting team has been awarded a major reactive maintenance and refurbishments contract by Transport for Greater Manchester. The three-year framework will see the company carry out maintenance and decorative works for the region's 99 Metrolink stations, bus stations, and throughout the region's growing public transport network. Let's hope they have stocked up on yellow paint.

The tank in all its glory. Credit: Place North West

UNUSUAL VEHICLES… Forgive us, readers, for not being well versed on West Didsbury streets but it has come to our attention that there is an armoured personnel carrier chilling out on Old Lansdowne Road – and has been since 2019 (according to historical Google Street View intel). Rumour has it that it has been let out to film sets on occasion, so the Didsbury armoured personnel carrier may also be a celebrity. But how does one go about owning an armoured personnel carrier – or even its armed brethren, the tank? Turns out anyone with a category H license can drive and own a tank in the UK. A quick Google shows an armoured personnel carrier would put you back between £10,000 and £22,000 – which is around the same cost as a new Ford Fiesta. But at a mandatory speed limit of 20mph, we aren't sure they make for the best commute. Is there something strange and unusual on your street? Let us know!

Read our comments policy


Hats off to Andrew Western for determination. There's a strong case for housing around railways stations including rural ones.

Methinks though, we’ll still be having the same arguments about Green Belt in ten years time.

Since much green belt is poor quality and we’re striving to improve on biodiversity, we should plant lots of biodiverse woodlands on green belt and build sustainable pedestrian focus developments by public transit beyond this. Win win?


Cumbria is at a pivotal moment in its history as it navigates two new governing bodies and a flurry of lucrative and revolutionary energy projects. Don't miss this chance to get the lowdown on a county that has flown under the radar for too long – and make a great connection (or two).

Located within Hawarden Business Park, phase one of the project has delivered 65,000 sq ft of industrial space off Manor Lane in the North Wales village.