A grassroots campaign to save the Cornerhouse building has quickly gathered pace, with over 5,000 signatories demanding to save the historic buildings.
It was announced in 2010 that the Cornerhouse would be moving to First Street in a desperate attempt to ‘stick on’ some culture and relevance to one of the council’s flagship flops. The cinema is to merge with the Library Theatre Company and is to be re-branded as ‘Home’.
Already part of Manchester’s iconic cultural heritage, the current site, on the corner of Oxford Street and Whitworth Street, the Cornerhouse is synonymous with art and film in the region and has given a great level of prestige to an area that, if current plans go ahead, will be reduced to a strip of hotels and Tesco Extras.
While opponents have had to accept that the Cornerhouse will be moving, there are worries that the building and others in the approach to Oxford Road station and surrounding streets, including venues on New Wakefield Street like Font and Black Dog and the fantastic-looking Salisbury pub will be demolished.
Critics are concerned that Manchester City Council’s plans for the future landscape of the city seem to be about spurning architectural heritage and trying to create a new, soulless image for the city rather than preserving our already credible and unique, industrial environment.
The petition on change.org states:
The proposed redevelopment of the existing Cornerhouse buildings and surrounding area is at a relatively early stage – this is our chance to influence the Council and Network Rail’s plans and what is submitted in the planning application.
In a statement from MCC, they say that:
At this stage, there are no specific proposals for the area, and therefore there have been no decisions taken on the Cornerhouse buildings… [Plans] will be subject to a full consultation process with local residents and stakeholders as part of the planning process.
You can get involved in the movement to save the buildings by following SaveCornerhouseMCR on Facebook and @saveCHbuildings on Twitter. The organisers behind the campaign have arranged a public meeting to discuss what can be done to save the buildings in the area, the first of which is on Thursday, 5 February, from 18:00 – 20:00 at Room F12 Friends Meeting House on Mount Street behind Central Library.