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New City Centre Chippy, Britannia Officially Worst Hotel Group, The French Rules

Sleuth 45: absurdity, truth and coruscating brilliance

Written by . Published on November 3rd 2013.


New City Centre Chippy, Britannia Officially Worst Hotel Group, The French Rules
 

SleuthSleuthSleuth is a sideways glance at the city every week, it's the truth, but Sleuth's truth. He's several people all at once. We give £25 for every story/rumour and piece of absurdity you find for us to publish. Sleuth sometimes even gets serious. We ask for the money back if any legal action follows. Follow Sleuth on twitter @mcrsleuth

The Wright Stuff

There's going to be a new traditional chippy in the city centre on Cross Street close to Albert Square and the Town Hall. This doesn't sound a particularly noteworthy or newsworthy event but given the location of the new place and the fact it'll be a proper old fashioned chip shop, and given the city centre's relative dearth of such businesses, then this is bigger news than it otherwise would be - although not as big as that sentence.

The chippy is called Wright's and is a new start - there isn't a parent shop in Bury or some such. It will open 11-7 weekdays, 11-8 weekends, and starts frying for the public next Wednesday. Sleuth suggested Fryday might be a more appropriate day. It was such a good joke a passerby collapsed on the street outside laughing so hard. Fortunately Sleuth had his pocket defibrillator to hand. 

Wright's Chippy

Wright's Chippy

The Least Surprising Fact Of The Week: Britannia Hotels Are Crap

Which? has done a survey of customers and found QHotels the best hotel chain in the UK and Britannia the worst. QHotels got 78% satisfaction rating, Britannia got 36% with rooms described as 'shabby' and 'rundown'. One customer was alarmed to find in some Britannia Hotels windowless rooms - both Manchester city centre Britannia hotels feature these horrors. The customer was even more alarmed to find that he had to pay a £10 supplement for a room with a window - as though being able to see out is a luxury. Britannia Hotels Group has a similar low rating with most Mancunians over another matter. Their behaviour over London Road Fire Station has been despicable - click here. By the way the editor wrote about the Britannia Hotel, Portland Street here.

Britannia Hotel at night

Britannia Hotel at night

Sleuth And The New Britannia Hotel

Sleuth's been sent this exclusive picture of a proposed new Britannia Hotel for the Northern Quarter. Rather than having internal rooms with absolutely no window space, it's going to consist of external rooms with lots of fresh air. There is a proposed £20 supplement for this level of amenity.

The proposed external bedroom Britannia Hotel

The proposed external bedroom Britannia Hotel

The French At The Midland Wins Again...It's Biggest Prize Yet

Sleuth learns that The French at The Midland won the Cheshire Life Manchester Restaurant of the Year recently. It will never face tougher opposition. It was shortlisted against the mighty Avalanche, the Booth Street restaurant that is a bit Italian. A bit. Avalanche has never been shortlisted before for anything at all. The French and Avalanche. Sleuth's sat at his desk looking at some chalk and some cheese and trying to compare them. It isn't happening. 

The Bigger Restaurant Prize 

Meanwhile The Sunday Times top 100 list of restaurants has been published, and hurrah, we've got a city centre restaurant on it at last. Go on guess which one, go on? No madam it is not Avalanche, but it is The French at the Midland. Simon Rogan, the executive chef, is going to have to get his trophy cabinet enlarged. His L'Enclume restaurant in Cartmel is, of course, on the list as well.

 The French

 

The French

 

Japan Empty Letters 

Sleuth mentioned the other day how he'd met a Japanese film crew and how they were filming an hour long programme in the city over the course of several weeks. He met them again on Wednesday and filmed a sequence with them, involving posting a letter - actually an empty envelope - in the Princess Street/Albert Square post box. After posting the letter he'd 'bump' into the group and have a chat. Sleuth had to repeat this five times with the crew because of buses revving, people beeping their horns and so forth. Those empty envelopes are going to confuse the postman. 

Confusing for the postie

 

Confusing for the postie

Japanese Love

Kenko the presenter of the Japanese show said: "We've loved Manchester. Everyone is so friendly and happy to see us, we've had no trouble in all the time we've been here, with our equipment or anything. Last time we were filming in London we found it so difficult and so expensive. Just for an hour in a Royal Park costs £500. All the locations are expensive, in Manchester they're free. And Manchester people are so generous. We filmed the mosaic artist Mark Kennedy in a pub and we asked him what his fee was and he said, "Give over - yes that was it - give other, just get me a pint, I'm just chatting to you." So we bought him a Guinness." Sleuth knows Mark Kennedy. Guinness to him is worth pure gold.  

Lovely crew from the East

 

Lovely crew from the East

Letters Again

Sleuth went to post a letter at the Spring Garden post office. He couldn't - the external letterboxes were all blocked up. But as he tried to push his letter in and failed he noticed peeping out of the box a postcard that had never been collected. It was very tatty and very faded - just like a Britannia Hotel room. Must have been there for months if not years. So for his good deed of the day he took the letter into the post office and posted it. Sleuth is a kind gentleman. 

Postcard trapped in town

 

Postcard trapped in town

Erection Threatened By Cheeky Boards

Sleuth's been amused by the 'cock campaign'  being waged on the perimiter fence of the MMU Birley fields site in Hulme while the new campus there is being erected. The logo has a funky white dotted line motif on the perimeter fence and locals (many of whom protested against the notion of the development as it was being built on an open site - Hulmites can't resist a protest) keep drawing massive dotted line male members in the same white paint in such a way they look part of the design. The poor site managers keep having to block out the offending anatomical images. It's not a very reproductive use of their time Sleuth hears. 

Computer Projection Of The Cock-Attacked Building

 

Computer Projection Of The Cock-Attacked Building

Sleuth And The Ghost of Christmas Future

Sleuth was walking through Albert Square this week. "Hello," he said, to a familiar face, "How are you feeling?" "To be honest," said Santa, "I'm in bits."  

Santa in bits

 

Santa in bits

Sleuth's View Of The Week

Sleuth found a good morning last week and cycled into Manchester city centre on his Brompton Dock bike - the foldaway Brompton bikes you can hire from Piccadilly Station. This is a view of Manchester from the west. Sleuth will let people take nerdy guesses about the exact location.

 Beautiful at dawn

 

Beautiful, just after dawn

 

Sleuth And His Little Castle

Every seven days or so Sleuth is stopped in the street by policemen, concierges, Japanese film crews, Simon Rogan, people looking for fish and chips, a man called Avo, residents of the Britannia Hotel, a dissected Santa Claus, cock campaigners and all the customers of Avalanche, and asked: "Where in Manchester can we find a lovely pair of castle towers and a gate made out of terracotta?"

 "Why," says Sleuth, "they would be on the Palace Hotel, formerly the Refuge Assurance Company, built as Phase One of the complex in 1891-5 by Alfred Waterhouse, renowned architect of Manchester Town Hall. The little castle symbolises security, showing customers their money is safe with the Refuge Assurance."

And to prove this he showed policemen, concierges, Japanese film crews, Simon Rogan, people looking for fish and chips, a man called Avo, residents of the Britannia Hotel, a dissected Santa Claus, cock campaigners and all the customers of Avalanche, this picture. 

Little castles of safety

 

Little castles of safety

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36 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AdamNovember 3rd 2013.

Yet, despite Britannia being the worst Hotel group, at 36% satisfaction rate, with next Travel Lodge at 50% (a big gap), they very likely will be successful in gaining another 3 years extension for LRFS (www.londonroadfire.org…), to do nothing. The Council will say they have not mismanaged the case, yet it will be doubtful that work will ever start and most people do not want BH in this building after 27yrs, 16 years on the National At Risk register (soon to be 30yrs) of destructive mismanagement. When will the Council start to work with developers for a community researched model as to the best use of this Heritage Icon and encourage others to submit planning permissions ? Will MCC ever work with the Community in a new CPO case or remain as detached and aloof as before? Will this extension have legally binding aspects to it, or will yet again MCC be in a weak position and argue their management of this case has been 'fine' (which clearly is not the case). How many more years will this go on? Britannia should be legally 'criminal' under the law, and there is a national Campaign Against Delinquent Owners by Jess Steele (see locality.org.uk/…/…). In the meantime until such lobbying waits out time, will Manchester wait for more appalling inaction on both sides? And so the worst hotel group by a mile in the UK retains a Nationally Important building.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Poster BoyNovember 5th 2013.

The return of the self-styled 'Prince of Pathos' (sic). When will he realise that such histrionic, unintelligible nonsense does more damage, than help the argument he purports to advance? And the City should put their own houses (Heaton Hall anybody?) in order first, before throwing mud (and wasting cash) at other people's doors.

AnonymousNovember 3rd 2013.

"despite Britannia being the worst Hotel group, at 36% satisfaction rate, with next Travel Lodge at 50% (a big gap), they very likely will be successful in gaining another 3 years extension for LRFS" That would be because customer satisfaction has no bearing on planning decisions, and if the council made a decision on that basis they'd be hauled over the coals if the decision was appealed.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AdamNovember 3rd 2013.

Yet, when National Heritage Experts agree this case has been dealt with poorly by the Local Authority you have to wonder. With three years (+) preparation for this eventuality and the possibility to engage in a new CPO and a much more citizen friendly design than the Worst Hotel Group no-one wants in there, does not bode well for a 'World Class City'. Nor does the long term 'strategy of this case'. Today I have walked by LRFS and a window has been blown and smashed in the tower in this 'wind'. In March a whole window fell out. The pro-activity has been incredibly poor. As much embarrassing as in the long term, as it is infinitely frustrating.

AnonymousNovember 3rd 2013.

You don't get this concept of 'debate', do you Adam? It goes like this: you say something, somebody else replies to what you said, then, if you want, you respond to WHAT THEY SAID in their reply. Not spout a load more waffle that has nothing to do with the person's response, as you frequently do.

AdamNovember 3rd 2013.

oh well Anon. See reference above to worst hotel group and frustrations and many wanting them gone. Saying customer service satisfaction is just another strand as to why cannot deliver 4* hotel. Will spell it out next time.

crisbyNovember 4th 2013.

Adam, as a planner myself (non-city council I hasten to add), I can confirm that Anon is correct when he says the Council can't refuse planning consent, or to renew a previous consent, because the applicant is a crap hotel group. It's not 'another strand', it's simply unlawful. Other than that you're quite right of course.

Kevin PeelNovember 3rd 2013.

I'm more excited than I should be about the opening of a new chippy! Portland Plaice has dropped in standard since the new ownership and the Fish Hut in Castlefield is a bit far from me in the Northern Quarter! No surprises on the Britannia front, they treat their guests like they treat the local community - with utter disregard and contempt.

6 Responses: Reply To This...
Bill LeighNovember 3rd 2013.

Yes, and how curious that according to the editor's earlier article the building that is now the Brittania Hotel on Portland Street was saved by the remarkable courage of a fire crew during the WW2 blitz, while the current owners appear content to allow the London Road fire station to decay into a state which makes it look like its just been straffed by a Messerschmitt 109.

AnonymousNovember 3rd 2013.

How curious that two quite unrelated bits of information should be put together to try and make a point? Zzzz

Bill LeighNovember 3rd 2013.

Wake up Mr Anonymous, its not difficult. Values. But YYY does it need explaining.....

Mike DambraNovember 3rd 2013.

The Fish & Chip shop on Lloyd St is worth a visit

AnonymousNovember 4th 2013.

This & That cafe in the NQ is worth a visit.

MeNovember 4th 2013.

Tib street chippy just needs to stay open longer!!

AnonymousNovember 3rd 2013.

Values? The fire crew put out the burning warehouse because it was dangerous, not because of it's heritage value. Irrelevant.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 4th 2013.

How do you know? if was 70 years ago, maybe they had a liking for achitecture?

AVONovember 3rd 2013.

Did Sleuth not get asked any questions by a Japanese film crew, Simon Rogan, people looking for fish and chips, residents of the Britannia Hotel or a dissected Santa Claus this week? Good because it was getting tedious.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
SleuthNovember 3rd 2013.

Avo, Sleuth forgot about that. Thanks for reminding me. I've even included you.

AnonymousNovember 4th 2013.

With the new rant policy, why hasn't Avo's 'boring' post been deleted?

MeNovember 4th 2013.

Think this is bad, you want to see his facebook!

AnonymousNovember 3rd 2013.

What community is relevant to the Fire Station site for planning purposes.?

Hero
RevaulxNovember 3rd 2013.

Manchipster Plaice by the side of the Printworks on Dantzig Street is pretty decent

2 Responses: Reply To This...
MeNovember 4th 2013.

its awful, the chips are frozen!

MeNovember 4th 2013.

It was a shame dockers closed in the printworks, it was far superior to Manchipster Plaice!

GimboidNovember 3rd 2013.

The people behind the chip shop are a savvy sort, I've often wondered about the lack of PROPER chippies in town. A decent one should do a killing.

Lorraine ByrneNovember 4th 2013.

Is Wrights anything to do with Wrights in Dublin? They virtually have the fish trade sealed up in Dublin and have diversified into bars and upmarket nightclubs.

Mark GarnerNovember 4th 2013.

why does this chippy close so early? what about me when I'm falling out of the pub pissed on a Friday at eleven?

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AVONovember 5th 2013.

Never mind a chippy, get across the road for DogsnDough. Are you reviewing this soon?

AnonymousNovember 5th 2013.

sells nice hot dogs, poor draught selection. that enough?

Kevin PeelNovember 5th 2013.

11, Mark? In the morning? ;o) Although you're right, we need later opening chippies! I forgot the lovely one on Tib Street because it's never open when I want chips! ManCon should start a petition...

JoanNovember 5th 2013.

Mark: I think the phrase 'falling out of the pub pissed' probably provides the clue as to why the chippy is planning to close before 11pm. Sad, though, that those days seem to be gone. Pie and chips always tasted much better after the pub.

pollolocoNovember 6th 2013.

The Editor at Cheshire Life, Louise Taylor went to great pains to assure me that all their reviews are completely unbiased and are undertaken by "food experts". I'm led to believe that most of them are written by Ray King's Chinese cousin Wan.....

AnonymousNovember 9th 2013.

how did avalanche know theyd been nominated three months before they were announced??? they put it up on their fb page and then hastily deleted it????

AnonymousNovember 15th 2013.

Just visited Wrights chippy. Very very disappointed. Soggy chips and worst of all. Bisto gravy!!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 15th 2013.

I agree, this is Manchester. Those chips need to man up!

AnonymousNovember 22nd 2013.

The Chippy on Lloyd street is the best in my opinion, Mr Chips on John Dalton street is also good. Was dissapointed with Wrights.

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