Bee Gees Manchester debut venue gets reprieve

The Gaumont/Bee Gees Image copyright Google/BBC
Image caption The Bee Gees first performed as The Rattlesnakes at the Gaumont cinema in Chorlton

Campaigners hoping to save a former cinema building where the Bee Gees first performed have been given more time to develop an alternative plan.

The Gaumont cinema in Chorlton was where the Gibb brothers made their live debut as The Rattlesnakes in 1957, when they lived in Manchester.

The Co-op wanted to sell the site to a private retirement flats developer.

It has now offered Chorlton Community Land Trust (CLT) more time to plan and raise money for its community project.

The CLT, which is behind the Stayin' Alive campaign, put forward a £2.2m bid with a commercial developer to turn the site - currently a Funeralcare building - into a community resource.

Image copyright Gibb family
Image caption The Gibb brothers performed as The Rattlesnakes before going on to form the Bee Gees in 1958

The Co-op has accepted the offer and said it would work with the CLT to develop the proposal, which will celebrate Bee Gees' heritage.

It must also provide a health centre, co-working offices, a gym, food and drink traders and a market square.

If the sale does not proceed, the Co-op said it would go ahead with alternative development plans for the property.

Steve Goslyn, Chorlton Community Land Trust chair, said he was "delighted" to be given the chance to "fully realise our vision for the old Gaumont Cinema to be transformed as the heart of our community".

Image copyright Manchester libraries
Image caption The Gaumont opened as a cinema in 1920 and closed in 1962, before becoming a funeral home

A spokesman for the Co-op said: "We've looked to ensure an outcome which would benefit the community and a solution for the site which is deliverable and sustainable.

"We are pleased, therefore, to announce a way forward that we hope will ensure the use of the site in the future that will benefit the local community."

The Gibb brothers - Barry, Robin and Maurice - were born on the Isle of Man but later moved to Keppel Road, Chorlton, where the family lived for seven years.

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