Fresh start is on menu for listed Victorian landmark

A historic hotel which fell in to disrepair and was taken over by cannabis farmers could soon reopen as a Chinese restaurant.

The Grade II listed building, on Plymouth Grove in Ardwick, is earmarked for redevelopment.

Developers have applied for planning permission to transform the derelict 140-year-old former hotel and pub into a two-floor venue for up to 128 people.

If proposals are approved by Manchester council, there will also be two flats and a car park at the site. Plans were first submitted last year, but were deferred by council bosses for developers to reduce the scale of the restaurant and add more parking.

New plans have now been submitted and will be debated in mid-March.

The Plymouth Grove Hotel, built in 1873,  served as a popular watering hole and accommodation in the heart of a Victorian community of terrace houses.

Over the decades it was redeveloped, and served as a pub in the early 2000s.

The city council granted planning permission for 10 flats in 2005, but the proposals never became a reality.

The landmark building was boarded up, fell into disrepair and was targeted by vandals.

The Plymouth Grove Hotel in Ardwick, around 1959

 

In August 2011, Greater Manchester Police raided the property and discovered a cannabis factory housing 1,000 plants.

Two men were arrested and charged with production of cannabis and abstracting electricity, but the case was discontinued at Manchester magistrates court two months later.

The drug irrigation systems caused a damp atmosphere which has ravaged the building’s interiors, so extensive refurbishment is needed before the restaurant can open.

Emma Craig, agent for Hattrell DS One architects who are leading the refurbishment for the new owner, said in her report to Manchester council: “The intensive production created a damp environment which has had a devastating impact on the building’s interior. All ceilings and decorative plasterwork have degenerated to the point where most ceilings have collapsed or were unable to be saved. The building has also been stripped of any decorative features.

“There are no original fireplace surrounds left, with the only presumed original feature remaining being the staircase, which too is badly damaged.”

Developers will be forced to strengthen parts of the property with new materials.

Zhan Peng Zhou became the owner in March 2012, and submitted plans to the council later last year for a 160-seat restaurant and three flats.

They were revised and now show the building will house a 128-seat restaurant on the ground and first floors, with toilets and storage in the basement.

If the development is given the green light, there will also be two extra flats in a converted extension. The planning and listed building applications will be heard next month.

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