New owners and landlord agree deal to save landmark music venue
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
Landlord Andy Martin outside The Star and Garter with James Heather from regeneration specialist U+I