SU­PER STARS!

New own­ers and land­lord agree deal to save land­mark mu­sic venue

Manchester Evening News - - FRONT PAGE - By STEVE ROB­SON steve.rob­[email protected]­i­tymir­ror.com @SteveRob­son04

LAND­MARK mu­sic venue The Star and Garter has been SAVED af­ter new own­ers signed a 10-year lease with its land­lord.

The fu­ture of the leg­endary pub on Fair­field Street in Manch­ester city cen­tre has hung in the bal­ance for more than a decade – but is now se­cure as part of plans to re­gen­er­ate the area be­hind Pic­cadilly sta­tion.

The May­field Part­ner­ship – a joint ven­ture made up of re­gen­er­a­tion spe­cial­ist U+I, Manch­ester coun­cil, Trans­port for Greater Manch­ester and LCR – has bought the 216-year-old, Grade II-listed build­ing for an undis­closed sum, it has been con­firmed.

Bosses say they are com­mit­ted to keep­ing the Star as a mu­sic venue – for the long-term.

Land­lord Andy Martin said: “Af­ter al­most 30 years of re­peated false prom­ises about the po­ten­tial re­de­vel­op­ment of May­field, I’m re­lieved and more than sat­is­fied that The Star and Garter, the venue de­scribed as the ‘Mu­nic­i­pal Fortress of Vengeance,’ or ‘The Tem­ple of Doom’ and name checked in two Cour­teen­ers songs, is in safe hands and not des­tined to suf­fer the same fate as at least three other mu­sic venues in Manch­ester.

“The plans for May­field are in­cred­i­ble and long over­due.

“It’s the most ex­cit­ing time for this part of the city that I can remember since the Com­mon­wealth Games.

“May­field, Lon­don Road Fire Sta­tion and the plans by Manch­ester Univer­sity to de­velop its cam­pus means that over the next 10 years the Pic­cadilly/ May­field area will be­come the most im­proved and talked about place in Manch­ester city cen­tre.”

It is a re­mark­able change of for­tunes for Mr Martin and the Star, af­ter years of ru­mour and false starts about the re­gen­er­a­tion of May­field.

First opened in 1803, The Star and Garter Tav­ern was orig­i­nally built around 50 yards from where it cur­rently stands and was forced to close in 1849 for the ex­pan­sion of Lon­don Road Rail­way Sta­tion – later re­named Manch­ester Pic­cadilly.

The pub was taken down and re­built in its cur­rent lo­ca­tion, brick by brick, be­fore re­open­ing in the 1877 as The Star and Garter Ho­tel.

Af­ter 110 years of serv­ing pun­ters, the pub first found it­self in jeop­ardy when May­field Rail­way Sta­tion closed and own­ers Ch­ester’s Brew­ery put it up for sale.

For 28 years, it has op­er­ated as a mu­sic venue in the be­lief the coun­cil had plans to re­gen­er­ate the area. In 2014, fans of long-run­ning in­die night Smile cel­e­brated its 21st an­niver­sary in the be­lief the venue was about to close for three years and was un­likely to re­turn. But those plans never came to fruition and the Star has been limp­ing on ever since. Change has fi­nally ar­rived with the form­ing of the May­field Part­ner­ship and fi­nan­cial back­ing for the re­gen­er­a­tion of the area. The £1.4bn project be­gan in earnest this year when a plan­ning applicatio­n was sub­mit­ted for a new, 6.5 acre park on the banks of the River Med­lock, a 545space car park and a nine­storey of­fice build­ing. The wider May­field re­gen­er­a­tion will po­ten­tially pro­vide 1,500 homes, 155,000 sq m of of­fice space, a 650-bed­room ho­tel, re­tail and leisure space. Richard Up­ton, chief devel­op­ment of­fi­cer at U+I, said: “Safe­guard­ing this in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant piece of Manch­ester’s cul­ture has been a long jour­ney and we are so pleased to be able to of­fer cer­tainty over its fu­ture for the many peo­ple who hold it dear. There have been many ru­mours about the fu­ture of The Star and Garter, but U+I has been com­mit­ted from day one to en­sure that the venue is not only saved, but is able to thrive.”

I’m more than sat­is­fied that The Star and Garter is in safe hands

Land­lord Andy Martin

MARK WAUGH

Land­lord Andy Martin out­side The Star and Garter with James Heather from re­gen­er­a­tion spe­cial­ist U+I

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