Picture House: Disappointing News, But Resolve To Work Together

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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.

Sketch of what Picture House might look like with a big green wall and funky mural

The story is set out in Place North West | Future of Chorlton Picture House up in the air following sale. We are extremely disappointed about what has happened, and we are concerned that the building’s potential to create a more vibrant district centre may be at risk of being lost.

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Picture House Imminent Update?

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.

AGM report – October 19th 2021

Chorlton CLT’s 2021 AGM was held on Tuesday 19th October at 7.30pm.  The meeting was held virtually, and broadcast via Zoom. Thirty eight members attended, representing 11% of the total membership of 342.

Following a welcome from the Chair, Simon Hooton, and introductions, the minutes of the 2020 AGM were approved unanimously.

This year’s guest speaker, Rose Marley, CEO Coops UK, gave a presentation with an overview of the Coop Economy, referring to the vibrant Coop Economy in Manchester, and their role in the race to Net Zero and driving climate action. She then answered questions from members.

Simon Hooton presented the Annual Report which covered the independent governance review, as well as updates on The Picture House, Ryebank Fields and Chorlton Vision and the report was accepted.

The CLT accounts for the period 1st April 2020 to 31st March 2021 were presented by Charles Ward the Treasurer and accepted.

The results of of Board election were announced by Simon Hooton. As there were only six candidates for the eight places available, the candidates were all elected unopposed. Those elected were previous Board members Sian Richards and Steve Goslyn, previously co-opted Board members Charles Ward and Shannon Conway, and new Board members Louise Donohue and Scott Lockwood who were welcomed by Simon Hooton the Chair.

Following the AGM business, questions from members on The Picture House, the Chorlton Vision and Ryebank Fields were answered by various Board members. 

The key document from the AGM can be found below:

Neighbourhood Master Planning

Chorlton CLT has the opportunity to embark on a project to set priorities for the regeneration of the commercial areas, principally along Wilbraham and Barlow Moor Roads.  We have some funding from the Council’s Neighbourhood Investment Fund to kick start a process in partnership with other groups and councillors. 

There has been a lot of press coverage recently highlighting the challenges faced by commercial and retail centres across the country.   Like other places, Chorlton has seen many changes to local business and building use over recent years, but not seen a lot of investment. As we emerge from the Covid epidemic we foresee opportunities to do things differently and want to shape the future of Chorlton in line with the aspirations of people who live, work, and visit the area. 

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An update on Ryebank Fields

In our last communication on Ryebank Fields we said that we would give members a more detailed update once the current stage of MMU’s developer selection process had been completed.  

This stage of the process is taking longer than originally expected and is still ongoing. In the meantime, we can report that a group of board members have now met (virtually) with four shortlisted developers for a presentation on their early plans and an initial question and answer session. We have given some initial feedback on how well aligned the initial plans are with the CLT’s Expectations and Aspirations.   

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CCLT’s Recent Engagement With MMU and Our Commitment To Community Involvement in the Ryebank Fields process

Chorlton Community Land Trust’s position re Ryebank Field has always been that should development go ahead, the CLT wishes to engage proactively with MMU and their selected development partner to ensure an exemplar development, with the best possible features reflecting the aspirations of local residents. 

This should not be taken that the CLT’s position is pro-development. The CCLT is however preparing for the possibility that the development goes ahead and is aiming to ensure any proposed development is extensively consulted upon with meaningful local community involvement. The CCLT recognises that there is a strong anti-development opinion in the local community in relation to Ryebank Fields and in no way does the CCLT wish to detract from the efforts of campaigners to stop development on the site.  

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Members Q&A Meeting 26 May 2021

On the 26th May 2021, Chorlton Community Land Trust hosted an online Q&A session which was attended by 33 members. We provided an initial summary of recent developments internally in the CLT and an update on the Picture House and the Ryebank Fields process.

It was a lively session and we covered a lot of ground. The session was recorded for members who couldn’t attend, so please listen to the recording below to hear what we covered and get up to speed with the latest news.

Thanks again to everyone who joined us. We may be about to enter into a busy period and suspect there will be plenty of opportunities to engage with the projects we are working on.