THE Star and Garter venue, an integral part of the Manchester nightlife landscape for decades, is being forced to close in 2016, the year of its 215th birthday.
Made famous for its immensely popular Morrissey Smiths Disco, held on the first Friday of every month, the venue has hosted countless club nights, live music gigs and film crews.
The ‘Grade 2 listed’, self-proclaimed ‘last truly indie venue you will ever know’, is being forced to close this year due to the expansion of neighbouring Piccadilly Station as part of The Northern Hub Project by Network Rail.
The Northern Hub Project intends to “stimulate economic growth in the north of England”.
Upgrades to both Piccadilly and Oxford Road stations aim to increase their capacity and therefore meet the growing demands for rail travel around the North West.
Fairfield Street is due to be closed for 36 months as developers install two new platforms and a new viaduct at the station.
WATCH: Star and Garter Landlord Andy Martin on the proposed plans
Andy Martin, landlord for 25 years, was offered just £400,000 for the legendary venue and accompanying three bed flat, much less than a city centre two bed property – a figure he finds “insulting”.
Earlier in 2015, the building was valued at just £100,000, only £10,000 more than what Mr Martin paid for it in the 1990s.
Mr Martin believes he deserves a fair deal for the “irreplaceable” building to reflect the legacy and landmark status it comes with.
“I can’t shut for three years and then reopen like nothing’s happened.”
Mr Martin started a petition last year to open a public enquiry into the treatment of The Star and Garter, and has gained over 3000 signatures so far.
“I’ve got until May to get 10,000 signatures, just to get it raised in Parliament.”
The campaign to keep it open has attracted celebrity attention; Liam Fray from Manchester band The Courteeners encouraged those at their Apollo shows in December to support the home of the Smiths Disco, the subject of one of the band’s B sides.
The venue boasts a vibe only truly found in Manchester, a ‘be yourself’ attitude encompassed in the building itself and the people who fill it.
Network Rail have been contacted to comment further.
By Natalie Rees