Ancoats Dispensary secures lottery cash

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THE future of Ancoats Dispensary in Manchester appears to have been secured after the Heritage Lottery Fund committed £777,000 to make the site safe prior to a bid for a full restoration grant of £4.5m.

Campaigners have been fighting for the past three years to save the grade II-listed building which was facing demolition last year.

Now the Ancoats Dispensary Trust has teamed up with heritage specialist Igloo Regeneration to work on a new future for the building as a “community and enterprise hub”.

They see the site as having the potential to house medical facilities as well as space for creative businesses employing up to 50 staff.

The dispensary has been closed since 1989 and owned by Urban Splash since 2001. The firm had previously planned a project to bring it back to life by putting in around 1,800 sq ft of commercial space and 16 apartments.

However, the scheme was due to receive £1m in funding from the North West Development Agency, which was cut when the coalition government came into power. In 2012 Urban Splash applied to demolish the building which had already lost its roof due to work that began before the prospect of funding support vanished. In April 2013 councillors in Manchester were advised to give final approval to demolition works but they agreed to defer the decision and Urban Splash ultimately withdrew the application.

ADT co-ordinator, Linda Carver, said: “This success has been the result of massive commitment from all concerned and I would also like to thank all those who have sponsored, responded to our social media on both Twitter and Facebook, national and local heritage groups, local businesses, community groups but last but not least to the local community for their massive faith in us.

“We very much hope that the dispensary will play its part in the wider regeneration activity in the New Islington area and will not only be a community hub for the local area but will also attract visitors and Mancunians alike.”

Sara Hilton, Head of HLF North West, said: “Our trustees were inspired by the passion and commitment demonstrated by the local community to secure Ancoats Dispensary and felt it was important that HLF support them. The Heritage Enterprise grant programme was designed to enable local people to revive these types of much loved buildings so that rather than being an eyesore, they can play a positive role in the economic and cultural landscape of their local communities once again. Although there is still a long way to go to secure the future of the dispensary, our funding enables the trust to take the important next step with their development partner Igloo.”