Manchester regeneration partnership buys iconic music venue

Andy Martin, landlord of the Star and Garter with James Heather, development director of U+I.

The future of iconic Manchester pub and music venue the Star and Garter is secure after it was acquired by the partnership behind the Mayfield regeneration project in the city.

Alongside the purchase of the 216-year-old, Grade II-listed building, a new 10-year lease has been agreed with long-term landlord Andy Martin to continue to operate the Star and Garter as a music venue, which is nearby to the Mayfield regeneration project.

Regarded as one of the most important schemes in the city for a generation there are plans to build a brand-new urban quarter next to Manchester Picadilly station featuring 1300 homes, office space, a 350 room hotel, leisure and retail space and a centrepiece park.

Behind the scheme is the public/private Mayfield Development Partnership, which compromises of regeneration specialist U+I, Manchester City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester and LCR.

In 2019, New Start visited the site and found out about why the partnership hopes the development will be a ‘total pivot’ of the city centre, away from other fertile grounds for regeneration such as Spinningfields and the Northern Quarter.

Following the purchase, the partnership says it is committed to placing culture at the heart of the area’s regeneration and will invest in the venue’s refurbishment and help support its creative programme.

Mr Martin has run the Star and Garter as a music venue for more than 20 years and it has become beloved as a launchpad for independent bands and for its famous monthly ‘Morrissey Smiths Disco’ night, credited with inspiring similar Smiths discos at venues around the world.

However, at various points over recent years its future has looked in doubt and the deal means that it has bucked a familiar trend of music venues closing due to development.

In January 2018, industry body UK Music estimated that 35% of venues across the country had closed in the preceding decade. In 2019, research by Insure4Music found that over the past two years one small music venue is closing every month in the UK.

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.’

Richard Upton, chief development officer at U+I, the regeneration specialist leading the Mayfield Partnership, 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.’


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