Chorlton Irish CLub
The club was put up for sale in April

Development pact could save Chorlton Irish Club 

Dan Whelan

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.”

Your Comments

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Yes, we need this community venue. How can the trustees legally sit on it if a viable community offer is being made? I thought that was the point. Please advise us what we can do? Thanks

By Colette Crosdale

I don’t understand. If the development is on only part of the car park, how many properties are planned? Will the development be high rise which will have an impact on the Rec and surrounding housing. And how will the loss of part of the car park impact on parking in the surrounding streets? Some of us remember the parking congestion on Cross, Beech and Beaumont Roads in the 70s at weekends when the club was in its hey day. So many questions…. and more as yet not voiced.

By Andrew Simpson

It appears there is no choice, allow the developers to build and keep the club or sell the land and developers build on the whole area which is huge! The main questions are, what do they propose to build and how much of the car park will remain?

By Jannette Storey

The housing is 14 no. 2/3 storey family houses. No higher than adjoining houses. All have integral parking. Only a fraction of the existing club car park has been used in recent years and the days of a drive to drinking club are gone. The future is as a community venue accessible for local use and enjoying the benefits of Chorlton’s excellent public transport facilities.
The alternative is the club being demolished and high rise/high density flats over the whole site.

By Ray Boyle MRICS

I am sure the developer, has the interest of the place at its core, when it wants to develope one of the main assets it’s car park!

By William

Clearly one of two things happening here
Trustees are trying to claim the site for themselves and make serious wad of cash or be able to sell it to who they choose in order to make a serious wad of cash. No other explanation other that these 4 are in it for greed nothing else
And there is nothing anyone can do. They know what they are doing unfortunately

By Anon

I remember when I first came to Manchester with nothing but a cheese board and a handful of LPs (Reo Speedwagon was one).

As a young professional, I befriended some of the patrons from the club and we would have great nights in there running around with the girls from St Etheldreada’s hockey club.

One night I climbed up the fire escape on to the roof parapet and I looked over the city and thought “one day all this will be mine”.

I digress, but my point is that this building is part of the city’s history, as much a part as say The Hacienda. It’s played host to many legends of the Gaelic music scene.

It would be an outrage if the club is demolished, nobody wants to hear a Gaelic house song called “The Chorlton Irish Club must be rebuilt “.

Manchester has an unrivalled history of embracing and protecting its cultural jewels This is Manchester, a city that thinks a table is for dancing on ,we do things differently here. Let’s not succumb to cultural vandalism

By Mike Charles