Formation of Ancoats Dispensary Trust

Copyright Brian Stark

A petition began in July 2012 which gathered over 5000 signatures, not only from the Vigil, but from lots of community buildings throughout the neighbourhood. The petition was handed in at First Street.

The campaign group felt that we should commission a surveyor to survey the Dispensary and report back regarding whether the building was beyond repair or whether it could be salvaged and brought back into usage. Without any funds, there was only one option: ask the community to donate towards commissioning a surveyor. We were not disappointed as we discovered the goodwill to support the saving of the Dispensary was as tremendous as we’d hoped. As a result, we soon managed to raise £600 to pay for the survey.

Result of survey

Verdict: the building had been partially demolished and not retained for future refurbishment.

This was all we needed to know. Under the Freedom of Information Act, we applied to see all documents relating to the Ancoats Dispensary; we wanted to understand how it had reached the state it had and who had been involved in the decision making.

In the meantime, a local architect had offered to assist us in our efforts pro-bono on the understanding that, should we be successful in saving the Dispensary from demolition, his application to design the building would be considered when procurement took place. This architect was instrumental in organising a Stakeholder meeting in May 2013.

Present at this meeting were: Urban Splash, Manchester City Council Planning Department, Homes & Communities (which had replaced NWDA), English Heritage, MCC Regeneration representative and members of the campaign group. At this meeting, the developer agreed to delay the demolition process in order to see if we could raise the funds required to restore the Dispensary.

At the time, a new Heritage Scheme had just been created – The Heritage and Enterprise Scheme. Due to the state of the building, it would be too costly to re-build, but a new building could be created within the original building, complete with all its heritage features. This would be a building that would be sustainable for the future. The condition of this scheme was that we would need to partner with a development company. Fortunately, Igloo Regeneration Company offered to be our partners for this scheme.

It was at this point that the campaign group became a development group in order to engage and promote the project.

A special purpose vehicle was set up between ourselves and Igloo and this became a Limited Company, Ancoats Dispensary Limited, into which all the funds and finances went. Representatives from both organisations had regular meetings and any outcomes or issues were then shared amongst the group for discussion.

The Group changed from being a campaign group to a development group so that local organisations, individuals, funding organisations and professional organisations could promote our cause and support us in our efforts.

We became the Ancoats Dispensary Trust.

Directors of Ancoats Dispensary Trust

Name of Directors Period served on the ADT Board
Carey Bamber 14th December 2015 – 20th May 2020
Nick Bowles 11th November 2013 – 14th June 2021
Linda Carver 11th November 2013 – 14th June 2021
Paul Darnborough 14th December 2015 – 14th June 2021
Howell Davies 11th November 2013 - 20th August 2015
Angela El-Kholy 11th November 2014 – 28th January 2015
Trevor MacFarlane 14th December 2015 – 14th June 2021
Jackie Marston 11th November 2013 – 14th June 2021
Liam Ryan 11th November 2013 – 9th May 2016
David T Shadbolt 14th December 2015 – 27th July 2020
Patrick Sudlow 11th November 2013 – 11th May 2015
Mark Watson 11th November 2013 – 27th April 2016
Phillip J Welldrake 11th November 2013 – 5th May 2016
Amy-Grace Whillans-Welldrake 11th November 2013 – 14th June 2021
Barbara Whillans 11th November 2013 – 5th May 2016

Throughout the campaign, the Trust produced several newsletters that were distributed throughout the neighbourhood and by email to the ADT membership.

Below are the 6 newsletters.