An iconic nightclub, immortalised in the ITV show Hitman & Her is set to be transformed into one of the country’s largest youth clubs after a deal was agreed with the owners, the Pervaiz Naviede Family Trust.
Warrington’s iconic Mr Smith’s nightclub had been earmarked for demolition earlier this year after several years of marketing the property produced limited interest. The owners stated their decision to clear the site was not made easily and had promised to work with the people of Warrington to deliver a community-focused scheme. The Pervaiz Naviede Family Trust’s advisors, LPC Living, had also met with local campaigners to talk about the challenges in renovating the building and had encouraged the group to look into a number of alternative uses for the building, providing they were commercial viable.
However, this week, the future of the former nightspot and Ritz Cinema looks brighter after the a buyer was found.
The Pervaiz Naviede Family Trust have agreed to sell the building in principle for £1.25m with the new owners intending to convert the property into a ‘Youth Zone’ for 3,000 young people. The project will also create a range of volunteer and training opportunities.
Warrington Borough Council have also pledged £3m towards the building’s renovation costs, subject to a final consultation with young people in the area. In addition, the Club has received pledges of an additional £1.5m from north-west businesses to finance the future running costs of the club.
This includes a donation of £150,000 from the Pervaiz Naviede Family Trust to be paid on completion of the deal.
Rudi Falla, spokesman for the Trust, said: “We’d always maintained that the original decision to clear the site was a last resort as we understood how the building held many happy memories for the people of Warrington. However, with renewed interest in the property and the Council’s decision to approve the funding package last night, this now paves the way for its future as a community facility.”
“To show our support for the project the Trust has pledged a donation of £150,000 towards the future running costs of the club, to be paid on completion of the sale, as it complements our long history of supporting community projects”.
Nick Hopkinson MBE, Chair of Warrington Youth Club said “We are absolutely delighted that the Pervaiz Naviede Family Trust has helped secure the future of this iconic building and remain incredibly positive about the long-term benefits this project will bring to local young people once the Council have completed their due diligence”.
Providing the Council have completed their consultation it is hoped the new owners will take possession later this year and for renovation works to begin shortly after. Once completed, the building will be handed over to Warrington Youth Club. Charity OnSide, which operates five Youth Zones in Manchester, Oldham, Wigan, Carlisle and Blackburn, has been recruited to run the centre.