Updated: Saturday, 21st July 2018 @ 8:06am

No soul: Manchester's iconic former Twisted Wheel club to be demolished as plans for budget hotel approved

No soul: Manchester's iconic former Twisted Wheel club to be demolished as plans for budget hotel approved

By Mary Maguire

An iconic Manchester nightclub – the city’s home of Northern Soul – is to be demolished to make way for a budget hotel.

The former Twisted Wheel club, known in recent times as Legends, is credited with being the birthplace of a dance scene which spread across the North and found homes in Blackpool Mecca and Wigan Casino.

But members of Manchester City Council's planning committee have approved plans by London-based Olympian Homes to build a hotel which it will then lease to German Hotel chain Motel One.

The term 'Northern Soul' was coined by London based soul music writer Dave Godin  to describe the obscure, rare American imports with their faster beat and rawer sound.

A planning report acknowledged the 'pivotal role' the Twisted Wheel had in Manchester's cultural and musical heritage but said that this was outweighed by economic benefits which were estimated at £25 - £30million.

The Twisted Wheel started out as a cafe on Brazennose Street but moved in the mid sixties to its current site on the junction of London Road and Whitworth Street.

It gained a reputation for its edgy amphetamine fuelled all-night dance scene and was forced to close in 1971 after losing its all-night music licence.

Twisted Wheel tribute nights were revived by DJ Pete Roberts 12 years ago when he persuaded gay bar Legend's to let him run Northern Soul nights.

Mr Roberts last night told North Manchester FM listeners that taking his sick daughter to his granddaughter's prom had kept him from the planning meeting but he knew it would be rubber stamped.

Most of the 140 objection letters received by Manchester's planning committee related to the Twisted Wheel closure.

Most objectors said they would support the plan had the basement club been retained, but this provision was excluded from the planning application.

The planning report said that the perceived value of the club as the birthplace of northern soul had changed in recent years with its 'increasing focus on gay and lesbian club nights'.

The new hotel complex will have two blocks – one seven storeys and one 14 storeys – and will be completed by mid-2014.

It anticipates 125,000 stays a year, drawing new visitors to Manchester and generating additional spending in the city.

Stephen Hodder, of architect firm Hodder and Partners said: "We tried to design a building which makes the transition from the taller buildings of Piccadilly Place to the grade II listed fire station.”

James Ketchell, Chief Executive of Music Heritage UK says, “We’re saddened to see the demolition of one of Manchester’s most culturally significant venues. Manchester has a proud musical heritage and for one of its iconic and historic venues to be demolished to make way for a budget hotel is, quite simply, appalling.”

Mr Roberts blogged: “You can open a soul night anywhere in the country but you can’t make it the Twisted Wheel. It’s about the building, the history and the name, the people and atmosphere, and the back catalogue of the music played. You could move the club, but it would never be the same.”

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