Refreshed proposal for Stayin' Alive scheme under consideration by Co-operative Group
Updated: Aug 21, 2020
We hope you are keeping well, especially in light of the recently announced lockdown restrictions in Greater Manchester.
We are conscious that we have not provided an update on the Stayin’ Alive project (although we’re now referring to the scheme as The Picture House, which is explained further below!). As we indicated in our last update in May, we were initially continuing to work to the original timescale - looking to progress discussions with potential development partners, agree uses of the building, confirm a purchase price, and exchange contracts by July.
The realities of lockdown meant that we have had to delay these efforts somewhat. Fortunately the Co-operative Group has been suitably flexible and given us more time to finalise these matters.
However we have made progress on a number of fronts over recent months:
Firstly, we completed our two-stage survey exercise at the end of May to capture views on the emerging uses that we believe could work and which match the aspirations of pledgers, members and potential customers. We received almost 300 responses for the second survey and can share the findings here
Crucially, over the last few months we have also been exploring options with development partners. Our priority was to find a partner with a track-record in refurbishing historic buildings, delivering high architectural and environmental standards, and who will work in collaboration with a community business like ours. We are delighted to confirm we have found a development partner in Brook Finch that meets these requirements and more. Brook Finch have a successful history in delivering high-quality developments which help to enhance the surrounding area and so make an ideal partner for Chorlton CLT.
Having made great strides on both of these aspects, we have now worked up a more detailed proposition to save the Co-op funeralcare building and ensure community oversight of the development and running of “The Picture House” - the old Gaumont Cinema and land at the rear.
More than ever, this is a great opportunity for Chorlton to build back better. The rescue and rebirth of the heritage building will act as a catalyst for this much-needed hub in the district centre, providing an open, accessible space and the opportunity for local businesses, talent and families to thrive.
The proposed Chorlton CLT ownership will ensure community oversight of the development and running of The Picture House. It will facilitate active use by local businesses, artists and residents. It will have accessibility, sustainability and quality of design at its heart. It will boost footfall in Chorlton District Centre by 10% over the next five years, create 50 new jobs, accommodate five new businesses; and create homes for 65 new residents on land at the rear.
Based on this refreshed proposition with our preferred development partner, we have re-entered discussions with the Co-operative Group on the proposal. The hope is that a deal can be struck so that The Picture House can be a key part of Chorlton’s recovery and prosperity as a vibrant district centre.
We expect to be able to provide more clarification on next steps by September. Should we receive a positive response by then, we will look to produce a community share offer document that set will out the terms of investing in the project and seek to drawdown pledges towards the end of this year.
Thank you for your ongoing patience and support.
Chorlton CLT Team