Hand-built pub will bring Manchester’s co-op district to life

Noma, the joint venture between the Co-operative Group and Hermes Investment Management, has submitted plans for a hand-built pub. The Pilcrow Pub will be built by local people...

Noma, the joint venture between the Co-operative Group and Hermes Investment Management, has submitted plans for a hand-built pub. The Pilcrow Pub will be built by local people using disappearing crafts and contemporary design, and will be part of Noma’s regeneration of central Manchester’s co-operative district.

Groups of volunteers will learn new skills in free workshops and then spend a couple of days putting what they have learnt in to action at the Pilcrow. Aside from the base of the structure, everything from the glasses that will hold the beer to the bell that will call last orders will be crafted using local labour.

Builders, coders, designers and makers will be recruited to lead workshops covering everything from drystone walling and cabinet making through to home brewing, bee keeping and robotics. There will also be wider public events on the site throughout construction.

Attention is also being paid to what will be served, with smaller local brewers providing modern craft beers and local producers supplying food. Once up and running, the Pilcrow will also function as a public studio, learning and workshop space.

Ben Young at Capital Properties, who came up with the idea and will oversee the project for Noma, says: “Skills that were once commonplace have become endangered. Craft dies when we find a faster, cheaper way of doing business.

“Faster and cheaper are both fine, but we’re interested in better. The build won’t be quick and it won’t be easy, but we are looking to preserve quality. We want those who will be drinking at the Pilcrow to be able to say ‘we built this, this is our pub’.”

Subject to approval, construction is expected to start in January 2016, with the pub opening in autumn 2016. At first it will sit at Sadler’s Yard, a new public square at the centre of Noma, but it is being designed to move around the neighbourhood.

David Pringle, director of Noma at the Co-operative Group, said: “We want Noma to be a place for people and what better way to do this than with a unique pub built by everyone. We looked at a variety of options, but the ambitious, original, imaginative and innovative nature of this idea really appealed to us.”

To deliver the 20-acre mixed-use Noma project, the Co-op, which has been part of the Noma estate for more than 160 years, is working with Hermes Investment Management – an investment management business owned by the largest corporate pension fund in the UK. The majority of land and buildings in the Noma district are owned by this joint venture.

Noma, at the heart of central Manchester, and is home to the Co-operative Group's listed buildings and new developments including 1 Angel Square
Noma, near Manchester’s Victoria Station, is home to the Co-operative Group’s listed buildings and new developments including 1 Angel Square

 

The partnership will develop the buildings and land in Noma to deliver new homes, offices, retail and leisure facilities and create new and enhanced public spaces.

A Co-operative Group spokesperson said: “Noma evolved from the acquisition of a large area of land and buildings to build 1 Angel Square, the support centre for the Co-op, which opened in November 2013. A strategic regeneration framework was established in partnership with Manchester City Council to regenerate around 20 acres in the centre of Manchester. This includes the Co-op’s listed buildings, the adjoining land around Miller Street, Angel Street and Corporation Street. This area is Noma.

“By bringing currently vacant or underused buildings within Noma back in to use, the development will both protect the heritage of the Co-op’s history within Manchester and increase their values when they are renovated and brought to market.”

The launch party for the plans is at 7pm on Friday 4 December at Sadler’s Yard, where organisers are promising music, beer from Port Street Beer House, pizza, and games. Email [email protected] to confirm your attendance.

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