It is with great disappointment that I am writing to let everyone who supported the Stayin’ Alive campaign know that the Co-op has rejected our community-led bid to save the old picture house in Chorlton.
Representatives of Chorlton Community Land Trust met with the Co-op this week. We were told that their Board has decided to sell the building and land to Churchill Retirement Living, a developer of private retirement flats. I’m sure many will have no objection in principle to more homes for older people in Chorlton, but surely not at the expense of a historic building with such huge potential to revitalise our neighbourhood.
Our community-led bid of £2.2m, which was submitted in collaboration with a commercial developer, would have given the Co-op a substantial return whilst preserving the Bee Gees’ heritage and delivering a new development for our community. We believe that Churchill’s successful bid was for just a few hundred thousand pounds more and that price was the primary determining factor.
Everyone we spoke to saw the merits of our plans, even the Co-op team. We had high hopes that they would be able to work with us to realise our plan. We put forward a strong proposal that would greatly benefit our community and help businesses at the heart of Chorlton to prosper, whilst also putting Chorlton on the heritage music trail.
Sadly, the Co-op has decided to allow the building to be demolished and have thwarted local residents who were ready to invest in making our community a better place for us to live.
Chorlton Community Land Trust wishes to thank everyone who rallied round the campaign. We were given an extremely short timescale to raise pledges and put forward what we believe was a compelling proposal. Thanks to your generosity we received pledges of £382,363 from 1,195 people and businesses in little over three weeks. Thanks also to the many people who donated their time and expertise to the campaign – too many to mention individually. We could not have done it without you.
So, what next? Do we co-ordinate opposition to the planning application? Do we further lobby the Co-op or try to work with Churchill?
You have shown us, through generous pledging, that you really care about Chorlton’s future and we value your opinions on the way forward. We will be holding a meeting at Oswald Road Primary School, Oswald Road, M21 9PL at 7.00pm on Thursday 30 January 2020. Please attend if you can or drop us a line with your thoughts on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will not now be drawing down your generous pledges but we would really encourage you instead to apply to join the Chorlton Community Land Trust so you can stay part of our movement. For just £1 you can help shape our next steps and have say in future initiatives in our community. Please join here.
Chair, Chorlton Community Land Trust