At the beginning of the year, we reported a number of positive developments on our plans for the Co-operative Funeralcare site, which we are referring to as The Picture House. In particular, our constructive discussion with the planning team at Manchester City Council who were broadly supportive of our scheme, recognising that it retains the original Gaumont Cinema building which is now classed as a “non-designated heritage asset”.
On this basis, we submitted our final bid to Co-operative Group, with our development partners Brook Finch, hopeful that it would be taken forward. However, the initial response from the Group is that the commercial terms we have proposed are not sufficient for them to accept. However, they have kept the door open for us to revise the offer.
It’s been a while since we’ve posted an update. Rest assured, we’ve been busy pulling together plans for Stayin’ Alive and moving forward to nail down our agreement with the Co-op – so we can take the project forward using your generous pledges. Since early January we have been:
We are delighted by The Co-op’s decision, communicated this week, to give us 6 months to develop our bid and ensure that we can meet their requirements. This includes working alongside a commercial partner, paying £2.2m for the building and ensuring that the redevelopment benefits the community. Come to our public meeting on Thursday 30th at 7.00pm at Oswald Road Primary School to help plan the next steps. Our press release is below.
Here’s the full story of our bid to save the former Gaumont Cinema for the community. Come to our public meeting on 30th January 2020 at Oswald Rd School to find out next steps.
We have a large former cinema building in the heart of our high street in Chorlton. It has sat there for 100 years and still has plenty of life left in it. It is structurally sound; the roof is in good nick and it retains many of its original art deco features. This is Chorlton in Manchester, the home of the Co-operative Group and where the movement was founded. What was the Gaumont Cinema has been operating as a Co-op Funeralcare outlet for the last 40 years.
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.
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.
A huge thank you to each and every one of our fantastic supporters.
We made it to £360k by Sunday evening and secured support from over 1,100 investors in just 18 days. We received some large £1,000 plus pledges, a lot of pledges around the £50 mark and a large number of smaller pledges under £100. Most of the money has come from UK supporters especially locally from around South Manchester, but we also received support from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Isle of Man, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Thailand, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and the United States.
We took our proposal to the team at Co-operative HQ in Manchester on Monday morning. They received our proposal with a great deal of interest. We have given them something to really think about and the decision is now going up to the Co-op Board for consideration. This is entirely down to the support we have been able to generate through the media.
In the first 48 hours we have managed to raise over £25,000 worth of pledges on the dedicated crowdfunding site https://stayinalive.org.uk
The good news doesn’t stop there. The Stayin’ Alive campaign has been approved for match funding from the community shares booster programme. This means that they will match all investments pound for pound up to £100k! So each pledge is now worth double. There’s still a long way to go but we’re getting there!
The Stayin’ Alive crowdfunding website at https://stayinalive.org.uk is now up and running. Follow the link for the campaign video, more information and to make a pledge.
To have any chance of saving the Gaumont – the building that housed the Bee Gees first live performance – we need to quickly show the owners that we have support and are a viable partner, with a reasonable plan to save the building and transform it into a community asset.