The CLT Board remain strongly committed to its plans to secure the Picture House (formerly Coop funeral care), and work with a developer to create a food and market hall. We are keen to save the building as an anchor destination at the heart of our district centre.
The Board believe that alongside the precinct, the Picture House would give Chorlton a better-connected townscape that encourages more people to spend more time and money locally, as well provide a space for new businesses to trade from, and for other activities with a social value purpose.
In March, we learnt that the Co-op had agreed an outline deal with Southway Housing to acquire the Picture House site. Since then, the CLT has been talking to Southway to make the case for our vision to revitalise the Chorlton High Street by retaining the Picture House building for commercial use with a community stake in its future. Southway is an established social housing provider with many properties in South Manchester and a commitment to its future.
The news has just come out that the Co-op has sold the Funeral Care/ Picture House site to Southway Housing Trust. The Co-op has decided to reject our long-standing offer which would have seen the community retain the main building.
A lot of people have been asking us for news on the Picture House project. We just wanted to say to everyone that we are still working on it and there are some recent developments that we are currently exploring. When we have got a clearer picture of where things stand and the way ahead, we will provide everyone with a fuller update. We expect this will happen in the next few weeks. Thank you for your continuing interest in this important project and please bear with us.
We have now submitted a formal offer to the Co-op alongside our development partner Brook Finch and are awaiting a response. It is taking time, but there are ongoing discussions and things are moving forward.
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.