THE at-risk Chorlton Irish Club has been made an Asset of Community Value (ACV) by Manchester City Council as its future hangs in the balance.
In March we reported that the popular club was under threat of closure due to growing financial difficulties caused by outstanding debts.
Founded in 1956, Chorlton Irish Club has been at the heart of the Irish community in south Manchester for over half a century and its potential closure caused much concern among its members.
In a bid to save it, the Friends of Chorlton Irish Club campaign group was launched and an online petition was set up - which attracted more than 5,000 signatures calling for the Club to be saved and new plans to be made regarding its future.
The group also submitted the ACV nomination with Manchester Council, which was confirmed by the local authority this week.
It means the club cannot be sold by its trustees without the council first being notified.
Such a notification would trigger a six-week moratorium on the sale, during which community organisations can decide whether they would like to bid for the club.
A Friends of Chorlton Irish Club spokesperson told The Irish Post: “The ACV listing is a positive development which does not affect the ownership of the club, nor its ability to trade and function as normal.
“It only has any effect if the premises are put up for sale.”
Regarding developments at the Club since their campaign to save it was launched, he claims little has been done to improve its prospects.
He also feels the members are being treated disrespectfully by the trustees, who own the premises on behalf of the Club’s members.
“The current situation at the club is a cause for concern: no date has been given for completion of the financial assessment, publication of accounts or an AGM; and there is no communication with members,” he said.
“The club has added around 200 new members since April, which demonstrates the support out there, but the membership is being treated with a complete lack of respect.”
The ACV listing received strong backing of Chorlton councillors John Hacking, Eve Holt and Matthew Strong as well as local MP Jeff Smith, who said: “The Irish Club provides an important contribution to the social wellbeing and interest of the local community, and I believe all options need to be explored to enable it to continue this vital function.”