A spokesperson for CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) has spoken out in defence of the Briton’s Protection pub as a petition launched to try and save it nears 8,000 signatures.
CAMRA Pub Protection Officer Steve Ingham has reinforced growing concerns that the Briton’s expansive real ale and whiskey offering would be significantly diminished if Allan Hudd and Mark West’s lease is not renewed by Heineken-owned subsidiary Star Pubs & Bars in June.
Addressing fears that the pub’s impressive rotation of locally-brewed cask ales could soon disappear forever, he suggested that Star Pubs appear to ‘mistrust the current team’, whilst pointing out how liked and respected they are by their punters.
He told The Manc: “Realistically the adoption of the company’s Just Add Talent model as they term it, is their description of the intention to replace the existing team at the helm who are liked and respected by those who visit.
“Building on the ‘current model’ contradicts the beliefs of the current team of the motives of Star who would be unlikely to offer the great range of whiskey and bourbon.
“The lease could of course be renewed in favour of the current tenants who have and could be relied upon to continue to provide the choice of spirits and real ale.
“It’s reasonable to conclude from the comment ‘ensure its long-term sustainability that the company mistrust the current team to continue to operate in the manner the company prefers.”
Mr Ingham also pointed out that the pub’s currently market rent only (MRO) lease ‘provides the flexibility to the team to make choices rather than have choices presented to them.’
Adding that a change to the Just Add Talent model will ‘reflect a materially different choice, not that currently available which can react to customer suggestions,’ he said that, frustratingly, even well intentioned national company approaches ‘don’t always align with regional and even more importantly local needs.’
Tenants Allan Hudd and Mark West are currently battling to retain control of the historic boozer after being served a Section 25 eviction notice.
Fearing that everything they’ve worked to build here over the past ten years will be lost, the current team have set up a petition online which at the time of writing has received 7,645 signatures.
The petition states: “The pub is a must visit site for their specialist whisky collection, boasting over 300 bottles; including their own unique offering of specially selected single barrel Jack Daniels as well 8 rotating locally sourced cask ales on draught .
“The landlord Allan Hudd and Owner Mark West have put 10 years of passion into maintaining what this Great British pub is all about and if lost it will fall into the abyss of generic gastro pub white washing that has befell so many others, seeing the offerings whittle down to minimal portfolio that would no longer be able to support the local breweries or offer such a vast selection of whisky as is common place just now.”
The pair were only informed their lease will not be renewed this June after paying all outstanding rent and the next quarter upfront – a sum of £170,000.
They had previously been told there would be no issues moving forward with a new contract if these payments were made, only to be issued with an eviction notice a week later.
One comment on the petition reads: “This is a gem of a pub and needs to stay as is rather than become like a 100 other chain pubs”
Another says, “We have lost enough of our heritage to these consumer giants. I still remember Tommy Ducks from my youth. Our youngsters need the opportunity to experience a variety of drinks from all over the country rather than the limited selection provided by the large conglomerates.”
A third added, “The issue of hostile Section 25 notices is a massive problem now, as the major pub companies try to avoid tenants getting their new legal rights under the Pubs Code. They are ruining hundreds of wonderful, unique pubs, evicting good long-term tenants to replace them with unsuspecting newcomers who then struggle to make the pubs work under toxic, profiteering, fake management deals. It’s a scandal.”
A fourth commented, “Unbelievable that these big businesses can’t see the unique potential of places like this – it’s not like it’s short on customers. They’re wiping the cultural slate clean :(“
If you would like to show your support for the pub, you can sign the petition to save it here.
Feature image – The Manc Group
The Makers Market is coming back to Cutting Room Square every month as of this Sunday
The North West’s hugely popular Makers Market is returning to Ancoat’s Cutting Room Square as of this weekend, marking the start of a monthly community staple.
While Makers Markets have been popping up around the region for years now — Stockport, Cheadle, Salford and Media City; Knutsford, Northern Quarter, Didsbury, Congleton and countless other locations — it’s only ever been at Cutting Room Square just the once as part of a trial run back in November 2022.
However, after going down an absolute treat and just as popular as all the others around Greater Manchester and beyond, the organisers have decided to bring it back on a permanent basis from this weekend onwards. Ancoats just got even better.
Now, as of Sunday, 2 April, city centre residents and those travelling into town will be able to enjoy a regular community market packed with local traders from all over every month. Wonderful stuff.
If for some reason you’ve never come across a Makers Market before, the concept is pretty simple: local businesses and indie traders of all different kinds gather in public spaces like Cutting Room Square, setting up pop-up stalls to sell their wares, whatever they may be.
Whether it’d be homemade food and bakery items, handcrafted prints and textiles, or homeware, second-hand records, flowers and everything in between, there is literally always something for everyone.
More importantly, though, these monthly markets aren’t just another place to shop locally and responsibly, but they genuinely provide a wonderful sense of community, quickly cementing themselves as a regular staple for everyone to look forward to and socialise at.
Typically taking place on the second Sunday of every month and with Cutting Room Square and Ancoats already a popular district for locals and tourists alike, we’re sure the atmosphere is going to be great.
You’ve also got the successful Ancoats Pop Up events scattered throughout the rest of the 2023 calendar too — happy days.
We look forward to a year filled with plenty more markets all around Greater Manchester!
You can check out the full list of traders that will be appearing at this weekend’s Makers Market at Cutting Room Square HERE.
Graeme Park thanks fans for ‘valued support’ and launches fundraiser in memory of late son
Graeme Park has thanked fans for their “valued support” following the devastating passing of his teenage son last week.
The former Hacienda legend and his family have also set up a fundraiser in his memory.
The DJ took to social media last week to share the heartbreaking news that his “true warrior” son Oliver had passed away at the age of 18 after a year-long battle with a rare cancer.
In a tribute to the late teenager, Graeme described his son as a “kind, loving, and beautiful soul” who “fought so hard until the very end” but was sadly taken “far too soon” when he “had so much more love to offer to this world”.
Graeme’s initial post drew in thousands of messages of love and support from the Greater Manchestermusic and entertainment community and beyond, as well as from famous name including from Vernon Kay, Sacha Lord, and DJ Paulette.
He asked fans to “bear with me” and confirmed that he will not be performing DJ sets or appearing on the radio for the time being.
Now, a week after sharing the news of Oliver’s passing, Graeme, his wife Jen, and son Ben have taken the time to thank everyone for their “wonderful and valued support” – adding that the family is “heartbroken” to have lost a son, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend.
“Your messages and kind words have been well received and have offered us all some much needed strength and hope at what has been a very difficult time,” Graeme continued.
“Friends, colleagues, fans, followers and complete strangers have all been in touch in person, via phone, email and social media offering support and more, and it really has been heartwarming to read all the messages and to listen to everyone who’s called.
“Apologies if I’ve not responded to everyone, but rest assured we all really do appreciate the sentiment.
“Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Graeme also confirmed that, after lots of discussion following so many reaching out and asking if there’s anything they can do to help, the family has decided to set up a JustGiving page in Oliver’s memory to help raise “much needed funds and awareness” for Sarcoma UK.
Sarcoma UK is a national charity that funds vital research, offers support for anyone affected by sarcoma cancer, and campaigns for better treatments.
“After complaining of leg pain over a long period, Oliver was eventually diagnosed as having a malignant nerve sheath tumour that was a type of sarcoma, hence our decision to help Sarcoma UK,” Graeme explained.
Sarcoma is a type of cancer that develops in the bone and soft tissue. It is difficult to diagnose and one of the hardest to treat – “but by donating in memory of Oliver, you can help change this.”
“Your donation will help researchers find answers, keep the specialist Support Line open, and raise awareness to improve treatment and standards of care,” Graeme concluded, “Your donations go so far in helping the sarcoma community.”
Over 200 people have already donated to the JustGiving fundraiser, with the total now at £6,900 and counting by the minute.