TNT has obtained some official information regarding the derelict Nello James Centre on Withington Road. Whalley Range locals were taken by surprise recently when a For Sale sign went up.
Here, we clear up what is true and what might not be…
FABLE: Vanessa Redgrave bequeathed the centre to the Caribbean community?
This may have happened but there seems to be no official record we can find yet, that this is the case.
FABLE: A group of Caribbean men own Nello James?
Walton Cottage Trust (WCT) is the official owners of the Nello James centre. There are only two trustee’s left- who are both women- after four others recently stepped down.
FACT: There have been several attempts to restore the centre
In 2012 our source took action with a view to restore Nello James back to its former glory.
FACT: The centre is derelict inside and out
Rot caused by water damage makes the premises currently unusable and unsafe and therefore difficult to insure. It would cost “hundreds of thousands of pounds” to restore.
FABLE: Manchester City Council (MCC) are forcing WCT to sell?
MCC, along with community organisations, have advised WCT that selling may be for the best but, “It is not the Council that can allow or prevent owners from selling assets that are under their responsibility.”
FACT: The property has debts
Part of the reason the rumour about MCC’s involvement arose is because MCC is owed money, “The Trust has not paid business rates or the cost of boarding up the building to the Council. The building has a debt and Councillors felt after spending so much officer time on the gentle approach – whoever has legal responsibility needs to act fast.”
FABLE: The owners of Nello James refused to sell?
This is partly FACT. According to our source, the Council and several community organsations offered advice and support to the trustees but “Disputes were arising constantly with regards who are the trustees, who speaks for the Trust and who acts for the Trust.”
FACT: Nello James is up for sale by owners Walton Cottage Trust (WCT)
The two remaining trustees at WHT have finally decided it is best if they try to sell the property. The original building and land will be restored and most likely be used as an educational facility.