Development pact could save Chorlton Irish Club
A group of members has agreed a deal with Hillcrest Homes that would see the firm purchase the High Lane site to build housing, while retaining the club as part of the project.
However, the club’s trustees have ignored their requests to discuss the plan, despite the local MP’s offers to mediate, according to members.
“The group has met with council planners who have indicated they would look favourably on the scheme, given that it would retain the popular community asset,” Friends of Chorlton Irish Club said in a statement.
It added that the plan “would yield a sum large enough to clear the club’s debts with over £1m left over”.
Under the terms of the deal, ownership of the venue would transfer to a Community Interest Company set up by the members and would be run on a not-for-profit basis for the benefit of the community.
James Payne, Hillcrest Homes managing director, said: “We are working with the Chorlton Irish Community Interest Group to try and help save the club, and propose to deliver high quality family housing on part of the car park to do this.”
A spokesperson for Colliers refused to comment on the matter but confirmed that there had been a “high level of interest and a broad range of offers” for the club.
It is understood that the club cannot be sold until 15 October when the stipulation regarding its status as an asset of community value expires.
In April the club and the surrounding land were put up for sale and Colliers was appointed to market the site as a “prime redevelopment opportunity” despite a long-running campaign from Friends of Chorlton Irish Club to save it.
In a statement at the time, the trustees said they were “reluctantly” putting the club on the market due to facing “significant claims from creditors” and that the debts of the club stood in the “hundreds of thousands of pounds”.
The group of four trustees, the registered title holders of the property, had stepped in to take over the day-to-day running of the club in April 2019 after the management committee at the time expressed a desire to put the club up for sale.
A spokesperson for the Friends of Chorlton Irish campaign group said: “This is a viable proposal that warrants serious consideration. It offers the chance for the venue to be revived, with the possibility of other funding sources being available to a not-for-profit community venture.
“The obvious concern is that the Trustees are going to sit tight until 15 October and then accept another offer for the entire site, with the club being demolished. We call upon them to halt the sale until the club’s members have the chance to be fully informed of this proposal. The matter should then be put to a members’ vote. To do otherwise would be indefensible.”