By Daniel Hunter

A charity organisation set up by Trafford residents to save a landmark building has won the backing of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The business support organisation is throwing its weight behind the Friends of Stretford Public Hall who are bidding to take control of the building on Chester Road and turn it in to a community centre and small business hub. The building is currently owned by Trafford Council but is being offloaded by the authority due to running costs.

The Friends of group will shortly be submitting a business plan that, if successful, would see them assume ownership as trustees of the landmark building. The venue would reopen and boast a cafe, a restaurant, offer a hall where local markets can run from, and also offer space for a start-up hub where entrepreneurs can hot desk from and network with like minded individuals.

Simon Edmondson, Regional Chairman for the FSB in Manchester & North Cheshire, said: “While there are a number of organisations who’ve expressed an interest in buying this property, only the Friends of Stretford Public Hall would keep it in public ownership for the benefit of the entire community.

“Their plans also include interesting proposals for a business start up area where people looking to set out as entrepreneurs can come and hot desk from as they ready themselves for launch, and to meet other like-minded people.

“We think this is a great idea that can be developed further once the venue is secured, and we strongly urge Trafford Council to consider the Friends’ very credible business plan. This is a great opportunity for the Stretford community, and a once in a lifetime chance to put a fantastic venue back in to public use. Stretford needs more small businesses and this is a perfect way to help deliver for the wider community.”

The Friends of Stretford Public Hall’s Annoushka Deighton said: “We are proposing that Stretford Public Hall is run as both a commercial and a community venture. As part of this we want to help nurture local business through providing flexible office and hot-desking space, and we are delighted our plans have won the backing of the FSB.”

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