The following is a reply from Phillip Rose, Group IFA CEO who have submitted the planning application for The Grants Arms:
Please support this Planning Application 63308
In response to Mr John Irelands appeal, I agree – The ‘Grants’ is to Ramsbottom what Blackpool Tower is to the Golden Mile, or the Opera House to Sydney Harbour, but you don’t need to tell a Ramsbottom lad that!
However, what is upsetting is that this iconic building which has stood proud as the mother of Ramsbottom, overlooking the Market Place for over 200 years is no longer the matriarch of the town but a sad limping old lady, a neglected and dilapidated old building which looks abandoned and unloved.
Being an iconic building the ‘Grants’ will never be an office block. The planning application ensures it will be sympathetically renovated, with its clock and internal tower returned to its former glory to respectfully attend the march of time over the town. But, time cannot stand still and move with the times we must. The historic Grade 2 listed lady will be lovingly restored to give The Grant Arms a new lease of life, to stand proudly over the Market Place as a visual reminder of the areas cultural heritage once again.
REALITY – The building requires extensive renovations. The old lady is dying!
The Grade 2 listed façade is a book being judged by its front cover, the inside and outside of the former hotel is strewn with rubbish, occupied by squatters and has been vandalised.
Prior to submission of the current change of use application, Hydes Brewery, who have successfully breathed new life into the Pack Horse in Affetside, completed due diligence on The Grant Arms to investigate whether it could be refurbished and continued as a public house and hotel, but this was deemed not viable. (see Investment Appraisal here).
As an Asset of Community Value there has been a six week consultation period where anyone could make an offer to purchase the property as a going concern, no-one provided an offer to the present owner. With the fact that this building has stood ‘empty’ for the last 14 months, the warmth, light and life it used to bring to the Market Place has long been extinguished.
Any change of use or reopening of The Grant Arms as a public house/hotel would always need to offer parking. I have started negotiations with Bury Council to allocate the parking spaces for public use. In reality a public house and hotel will require parking spaces 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The simple fact is the ‘Grants’ owns the parking spaces but I understand the importance of these to the business community within Ramsbottom, hence why I have been working with the Council to find a suitable solution.
With the current explosion of new wine bars, tapas bars and restaurants, which will all hopefully continue to be thriving local businesses, Ramsbottom does not need a large brewery chain to gallop into town and open another pub to take away the entrepreneurial spirit of the new bars. Ramsbottom is a success story because of the local businesses, we simply want to bring 40 people into the town to spend their money on a daily basis.
I contacted Mr John Ireland and Ramsbottom Heritage Society prior to submission of the planning application and offered to arrange a meeting so they could view the proposed plans and any concerns could be taken into account and discussed. Sadly they both declined. On the other hand, my request was granted by the Friends of Ramsbottom Civic Hall (FORCH) and I have been welcomed to present my plans at their next meeting.
A change of use where the building will be occupied by an existing company with the space for growth and the opportunity then to create more jobs in the town can only be good news. With the additional number of employees visiting the town daily, who can afford to turn away business?
As Group CEO, I first started in financial advice on Bridge Street, Ramsbottom, subsequently setting up Rosebridge as an independent financial business in Bolton in 2006. The name of the business is a combination of my surname and Bridge Street. As a local business person and member of the local community (played football as first team captain for 6 years at Ramsbottom United) I see the proposed relocation of our Head Office into The Grant Arms as bringing my prestigious financial services business back home to its roots.