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Bricks and mortar not just flowers and chocolate - People in the North West asked to share their love of buildings this Valentine's Day
Photos with thanks to the Historic England Archive

THEY are the backdrop to our lives, the setting of treasured memories and the familiar sight that says you're almost home; the unique buildings we live and work among have a special place in our hearts.  This February, Historic England wants the nation to share that love and celebrate the places that shape us. From local landmarks to national icons, Historic England wants to hear about the buildings in the North West you cherish and why. Where is it that makes your heart sing, or stops you in your tracks, every time? Whether a fleeting romance or a long-held affection, this week Historic England wants the public to share photos, memories and odes to the #buildingsyoulove on social media and celebrate the wonderful, distinct places across the country that we hold dear. There are lots to choose from, including:- Little Moreton Hall and the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre in Cheshire. Or what about The Lowry, Old Trafford and Beetham Tower in Greater Manchester? Maybe you'd be lost without: Lancashire's Blackpool Tower or Lancaster's Ashton Memorial? Perhaps you love:- Merseyside's Royal Albert Dock in Liverpool or can't imagine life without the City's Cavern Club, Liver Building or Metropolitan Cathedral? Mary Ann Ochota, broadcaster and author of:- 'Hidden Histories - A Spotter's Guide to the British Landscape' has a fondness for Lion Salt Works, Marston, Cheshire, saying:- "I realised that your tumbledown buildings held deep seams of stories that deserved to be told."

'2019 - A Focus on Loss and Destruction' is the 1st activity in Historic England's Loss and Destruction season. Throughout 2019 Historic England is looking at why our collective history and heritage is so important to us all, and why it needs to be looked after. We're looking at buildings and places that are at risk because of neglect, lack of use or conflict. We're asking people to look again at the buildings and places in their communities, and question what would happen if they were lost. What Remains, an exhibition jointly created in partnership with Imperial War Museums, will open at IWM London, as part of:- 'Culture Under Attack,' running from 5 July 2019 to 5 January 2020, and explore the deliberate destruction of cultural places, the objects and stories that bring them to life, and the rebuilding of culture that follows. Historic England is developing further exciting public programming as part of the Loss and Destruction season to be announced in due course.

Mary Ann Ochota's letter in full, Lion Salt Works, Marston, Cheshire:- "When I 1st saw you, I was a child and you really weren't much to look at. In fact, you scared me. A derelict site along the canal: raggedy weeds, tangled struts and a big square chimney. But I was standing next to a historian who explained who you really were; a place where men and women built their lives, a fortune and an industry on salt.  The workers wore clogs. They sang songs as they dragged rakes across vast open pans of brine. I remember learning that the Victorian moralists worried because men and women worked together, and that the ladies sometimes stripped off to their underskirts in the steamy rooms of boiling salt. The Victorians had been horrified, I was entranced. It wasn't that long ago, but it was a different world. The buildings around me were never meant to be fancy, they were hard and functional and built to work. But there's a beauty in such unapologetic practicality. I realised that your tumbledown buildings held deep seams of stories that deserved to be told. Since I 1st saw you, you've spruced up. Now you have brown heritage signs and award winning displays and a café. I'm glad you've met other people. I know you're charming and teaching and entrancing them just like you did me."

Historic England's now has an interactive online matchmaking quiz will pick which architectural style is your best fit, and reveal a little more about the defining characteristics of each building type. Not only that you can find out if you're most suited to:- Tudor, Victorian, Georgian, Art Deco or Brutalist architecture, or prefer an eclectic mix... So what is your match?, Visit:- and please do let us know as well, via emailing our newsroom via:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com.

Duncan Wilson, Historic England's Chief Executive, said:- "England is home to an incredible range of distinctive buildings from clock towers and corner pubs to sweeping terraces and tiny cottages. We want people to call to mind their special places, look again at the buildings around them, and celebrate them. It's about time the buildings we can't live without get a share of the love this Valentine's Day."

Next stage of Liverpool City Region Bus and Cycling Network Development Given the Go-ahead

NEARLY ½ a million pounds worth of funding to support the development of green bus corridors and the City Region's cycling and walking network has been given the green light by the Combined Authority. Up to ₤465,000 of the Transforming Cities Fund (which is now part of the Strategic Investment Fund - SIF) has been allocated to allow work to go ahead on these schemes. ₤215,000 will enable Merseytravel, Knowsley MBC and St Helens MBC to identify how to transform and improve the busy commuter bus routes on the:- A57, A562, B5178, A59 and A567. ₤250,000 will allow Merseytravel to produce an outline design for 6 cycling and walking corridors within the wider Liverpool City Region Cycle Network. This is a further contribution to the development of a network of 30 key walking and cycling routes, totalling 600km, over the next 10 years. It follows the Combined Authority's approval of ₤8.3m of funding for the 1st 55km Phase, in December 2018.

Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram said:- "This year marks the Year of the Environment so what better time to use this opportunity to extend our walking and cycling routes further and encourage more healthy forms of travel. The work on our green bus routes will make it easier for people to get out of their cars and use our transport network while lowering levels of congestion, reducing emissions and improving air quality as we promised. Devolution gives us the powers to choose the right infrastructure and the best technological enhancements for our City Region ensuring that it is as accessible as possible."

The approach to green bus corridors is part of a broader project that sees Merseytravel working with Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton and St Helens Councils in the Liverpool City Region and a steering group has been established to take the development work forward.

Cllr Tony Brennan, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration at Knowsley Council said:- "I'm delighted that Knowsley is benefitting from this funding which will help to improve accessibility of public transport whilst also meeting the needs of our local residents and businesses around a number of key locations including Page Moss and Prescot, which will be home to the Shakespeare North Playhouse over the coming years. This funding will also be used to improve cycling and pedestrian routes across Knowsley and the wider Liverpool City Region to meet demand as well as promoting accessibility around the borough."

Councillor Lynn Clarke, St Helens Council's Cabinet Member for Better Neighbourhoods, said:- "These investments will allow us to greatly improve connectivity into St Helens, benefitting residents and the economy. It is this council's ambition to promote growth, healthy lifestyles, and bring more jobs into the borough. It is vital that we support those who choose to travel sustainably by public transport, walking and cycling, and ensure they can do so safely, while reducing emissions and congestion, and supporting local retail and leisure opportunities."

80% of the public transport journeys across the Liverpool City Region are by bus with 14% of commuter journeys by bus. These projects aim to address ways in which the commuter journey by bus can be improved, encouraging more people to consider the bus as an option, and increase the interconnectivity between walking, cycling and bus routes. Improving reliability and punctuality, as well as better transport integration are key focuses of the Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance; a partnership between:- Merseytravel, Arriva and Stagecoach, to encourage more people to consider taking the bus. This includes:- improving traffic flow to speed up bus journeys, providing traffic signal upgrades to prioritise buses and considering the introduction of a range of innovative cycle infrastructure measures such as Dutch style roundabouts.

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