Save Hulme Hippodrome

Open Letter: Charity Commission can act to save Hulme Hippodrome for the Community

Add you name here to support our open letter to the CEO of Charity Commission requesting that they act to save Hulme Hippodrome for the community.

See Lucy Powell’s (Hulme’s Labour MP) letter in support of our bid to the Charity Commissioner here

For more background information read our briefing notes here.

See our press release here

See list of signatories supporting this open letter here.

150 people have signed so far.

To: Helen Stephenson, CEO, Charity Commission

Dear Helen Stephenson,

We the undersigned all urge you to help in saving the Hulme Hippodrome, a 120-year-old Variety Theatre and Grade 2 listed building in Manchester, saving it for future community benefit and well-being, and at no cost to the public purse.

In 2003 the disgraced charity Gilbert Deya Ministries purchased the Hulme Hippodrome for religious meetings. The building has been shuttered since 2018, and on 11 January 2021 a minority of the charity trustees attempted to transfer the building to a disgraced property developer. Other trustees have given statements that they did not know of nor consent to this attempted transfer and that the requirements of charity and property law were not followed. The Land Registry has also refused to allow the transfer to the property developer. The property developer is based in south London and is a disqualified director until 2025, he was described officially as “a confidence trickster” by a government investigator in June 2014 after the High Court closed 14 of his companies, and in February 2021 he showed his hand by advertising the Hulme Hippodrome site as suitable for residential apartments.

Now, on Friday 14 October 2022 we understand that the Charity Commission has invoked its powers under Section 69 of the Charities Act 2011 and has taken legal control of the 120-year-old Hulme Hippodrome building, removing control from all of the Gilbert Deya Ministries trustees.

We are concerned that Charity Commission staff might be about to override the legal objections of the Land Registrar and use the Section 69 powers to complete the stalled transfer to the disgraced property developer, even though a fully-funded community alternative is on the table.

Time is of the essence.

An angel investor of good reputation is working with Save Hulme Hippodrome Ltd to return the building to community use, and the most recent full-price offer letter is dated 6 October 2022. We understand that their solicitors are standing by to complete the conveyancing for community benefit as soon as the Charity Commission is ready to proceed. A sheet of technical details is available on request.

Yours sincerely,

Save Hulme Hippodrome

Copies to: Susanna McGibbon, Permanent Secretary, Government Legal Department, Sarah Healey, Permanent Secretary, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

See pdf here


Welcome to our Save Hulme Hippodrome Campaign – we are 100s of people determined to bring this beautiful building back into community use. Read about our recent successes, and how you can help.

The Hulme Hippodrome is a 120 year old Grade II listed Edwardian theatre in Hulme (M15 5EU), one mile south of Manchester city centre. It can seat up to 1,900 people, with an internal adjacent Floral Hall for another 1,000 people. It has a smaller twin theatre – The Playhouse – on the same block, now run by Niamos.

Designed by JJ Alley and built by the Broadhead family company, it is one of the last surviving theatres of a group of 17 in the North West of England, renown for its Rococo plasterwork and ornate decoration, and its straight lines for all rows of seats, unusual in theatre design. The Hulme Hippodrome (initially known as The Grand Junction) was opened on 7 October 1901, with its “younger twin” sister theatre The Playhouse following in 6 October 1902.

In March 2021 we crowd-funded over £16,000, racing past our initial target in just five days Рwith kind donations from over 500 people and growing. These funds will pay for things like much-needed surveys on the structure and conditions, and for an independent fair market valuation. These are some of the essential steps which will help us rescue and secure the building.

And see this wonderful video –

News

Press Release: Charity Commission can act now to save Hulme Hippodrome for the Community 

Press Release Immediate Use 20th October 2022 On Friday 14 October 2022 the Charity Commission took over legal control of the Hulme Hippodrome building, and the danger is they will allow a property developer to use the site for a new block of apartments. The Hulme Hippodrome is a 120 years old theatre, a GradeContinue reading “Press Release: Charity Commission can act now to save Hulme Hippodrome for the Community¬†“

Lucy Powell MP urges Charity Commissioner to consider offer from SHH favourably

18 October 2022 From Lucy Powell, MP To: Helen Stephenson, CEO Charity Commission Dear Ms Stephenson I am writing regarding Hulme Hippodrome, a Grade-2 listed theatre in my constituency, which is currently unused and deteriorating. Last year, a number of local residents established a non-profit company, Save Hulme Hippodrome (SHH), with a view to acquiringContinue reading “Lucy Powell MP urges Charity Commissioner to consider offer from SHH favourably”

Signatories in support of Open Letter

Over 170 Supporters so far (23rd October) A wide range of people and organisations from Manchester and across the country have added their name in support of our open letter. Olivia Adamson, University of Manchester Eileen Allen, Manchester Guided Tours  Ray Allen, Interested resident  Jama Abdukayumov, Edward Williams Architects Louise Andrew Zoe Ashpole, Manchester residentContinue reading “Signatories in support of Open Letter”

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