A RESIDENTS group in Handforth is being blocked from converting a derelict pub into a community centre because of a 50-year-old rule.

The Spath Lane Residents Association (SLRA) wants to convert The Mermaid, in Delamere Road, into a facility for the community, but the group has been told the site must remain a pub.

As Mancunians were relocated from their homes in Ancoats and Hulme to Handforth in the 1960s and 1970s, it was agreed by Manchester City Council that the Mermaid would be built as a pub for the village’s new residents – and that it would stay that way.

But with the pub standing derelict and without interest from potential publicans for three years, Cynthia Samson, chairman of SLRA, believes the site could be put to better use.

She told the Guardian: “The ‘to let’ sign is still up and there doesn’t seem to have been much interest in reopening the pub, but we’ve been told it needs to stay as a pub.

“The building could be put to such better use – it could have community rooms, it could be used as changing rooms for sports facilities.

“But whenever we have approached the letting agent to suggest anything we’ve been rebuffed because of the covenant, and these things seem difficult to overturn.

“It’s been closed for so long now that any development on it would be a bonus – the land could even be used for more social housing, but it won’t be. It just doesn’t seem fair.”

  • Would you like to see the site be used for a community centre, or should it remain for a pub? Have your say below.