MEMBERS of the at-risk Chorlton Irish Club have offered to buy the property in order to save the iconic venue and clear its debts.
A group of members of the popular centre in Manchester have come together to work with a local property developer to purchase the club and retain it as a cultural venue for the Irish community.
Its future has been under threat since March 2019, when it was first announced that is was being forced to close due to “financial difficulties”.
Devastated members have been campaigning to save the centre ever since but were dealt another blow in April of this year when it was announced that the venue would be put up for sale.
Refusing to give up on the Club, some members formed a Community Interest Company in May - the Friends of Chorlton Irish Club group revealed in a press statement this week - and teamed up with local developer Hillcrest Homes in order to save their beloved venue.
Their plan is to “retain the club building with a smaller car park, with the remainder of the site given over to high- quality family housing,” they confirmed this week.
The group believe the plan would yield a sum large enough to clear the club’s debts with over £1 million left over.
They added that they have “met with council planners who have indicated they would look favourably on the scheme, given that it would retain the popular community asset”.
However, the group have revealed that the Trustees of the Club have “ignored” their requests to discuss the plan.
“This is a viable proposal that warrants serious consideration,” they told The Irish Post this week.
“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,” they explained.
Currently the Club, which is listed as an Asset of Community Value, can only be sold to a community organisation.
However, that stipulation ends on October 15 – after which the Trustees can sell to any buyer.
“The obvious concern is that the Trustees are going to sit tight until October 15 and then accept another offer for the entire site, with the club being demolished,” the group said.
“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”.
The sale of the Chorlton Irish Club is being handled by the multinational property agent Colliers International.
It is understood that there have been numerous bids for the site from private developers.