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Gordo v Goddo

What’s going down at the Hidden Gem Church in the centre of town? Gordo enlightens his flock

Written by . Published on December 5th 2006.

Gordo v Goddo

Ithaca: Licence Problems.

Ithaca has had its 4.00 am licence refused and reduced to 1.00 am. How did this happen? Rumours have it that God intervened. As this is Manchester Confidential, let’s kick off with ‘just the facts ma’am’.

What is Ithaca?

A restaurant, set to open in January 2007, with a small, ultra discreet private members club above. Situated fifty yards south of The restaurant Bar and Grill. The first two floors will be the restaurant, with 42 covers on each floor. The top floor will be the private members bar. There is no dance floor. It is aimed at high net worth individuals. Remarkably, the restaurant has attracted the chef who helped set up Nobu, one of the finest restaurant groups in the world. The club will be low profile, background bar music. All in all, a venue that will complement the area and provide a quiet, safe venue of the highest standards.

What is The Hidden Gem?

Actually St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church. It is situated on a street running parallel and to the rear of John Dalton Street upon which Ithaca is situated. The original was the first Roman Catholic Church to be built in England, 1794, since the Reformation. The new church was built in 1848, and described as a ‘hidden gem’ by a visiting Bishop. It is now known as ‘The Hidden Gem’ and is something of a tourist attraction. Some commentators aren’t as convinced as the Bishop; Pugin, the architect, said the building “shows to what depth of error even good men fall when they go whoring after strange styles”. Blimey.

To this writer’s mind, the interior is by far the more interesting, including a set of astonishing Norman Adams’ paintings of the stations of the cross. This church is an oasis for Catholics and non-Catholics alike in the city centre.

What’s the row?

Ithaca need a 2.00 am licence to make its business model work. The total investment in the site is standing at just short of four million pounds and the model relies upon income from both the restaurant up until 1.00 am and the club up to 2.00 am. They actually applied for a 4.00 am licence to facilitate the occasional private party for visiting performing stars finishing work late in the theatres and arenas in and around the city centre.

Canon Dennis Clinch lives in a purpose built house which is attached to the church and has a wall that faces the rear wall of the building housing Ithaca, with a deep alley in between. The Canon decided that he may be disturbed by noise and as is his right as an individual living in the town centre, objected to the licence application asking for it to be moved to 11.30 pm closing.

What happened?

The Canon ‘clinched’ it, nearly. He actually got the councillors to impose a 1.00 am closing. A remarkable feat for one man. It is almost unheard of for one resident to change the minds of the licensing authorities, particularly here in Manchester where traditionally all the authorities are working together to promote the city as a vibrant, young and stylish place to live, work and visit. Nimbyism (not in my back yard) for most residents is frowned upon.

What is this Publishers view?

Does Canon Clinch have a point? I live above Lime bar just off Albert Square. For the past six months I have put up with the building next door being knocked down, as well as the Lime bar licensing hours going up and down like a yo-yo. The basement is promoted from time to time as ‘Sub Lime’, playing what sounds to me like Ginger Baker, the Cream drummer, on steroids. It disturbed me for the fist three nights but I now sleep right through. I want Manchester to attract more and more visitors; it’s good for business, which pays taxes to keep the council afloat and indeed will bring more and more punters for the Hidden Gem along with more and more readers for ManchesterConfidential.com. Good news all round.

At this point it should be made absolutely clear that this row is absolutely nothing to do with the Roman Catholic Church and The Hidden Gem; it is between Ithaca and the resident of the house that happens to be owned by the church and who happens to be the Canon. Ithaca will have absolutely no effect on the Church whatsoever. In fact I believe that it will not disturb the Canon one bit. From what I understand about the soundproofing being installed by Ithaca, along with the fact that there is a substantial alley between the two buildings, in my opinion there is little chance the Canon is going to get a disturbed night’s sleep.

Norman Adams - Stations of the cross, Christ condemned to death.

Given all the above, the reader may well be forgiven for wondering how one resident got the licensing committee to substantially alter an application of this nature? It appears to me that the ‘old boys network’ were brought into play.

Canon Clinch brought the Church into the equation, collecting 8,000 signatures against the proposal. We do not know how many city centre residents were in those 8,000 and from a number of comments, many of the people who did sign thought they were saving The Hidden Gem from The Devil, not giving a private individual a bit of piece and quiet about his sleep patterns. Astonishingly, The Canon was able to take on the services of a top flight firm of solicitors, along with a QC. The last time this publisher employed the services of silk, as QC’s are known, it cost him £8000.00 a day. The police, by the way, changed their minds about the application very late in the day and opposed it. Note that Canon Clinch is the Police Chaplain.

By this stage you may well be getting the idea that I am biased against Canon Clinch. Let me tell you, the answer is yes, I am. It could be because I consider that the mindset of the Canon is not that of the thousands of residents who have flooded into the City to live over the past sixteen years or so. Maybe he should make way for a younger man. Is it because I am totally against Daily Mail style Nimbyism? Could it be that I want my city to shine? This restaurant, with an ex-Nobu chef, will raise the bar in the restaurant standards across the city. Would it be the way the signatures were collected? Was it because, when I visited the church last Friday to refresh my mind I decided to light a couple of candles? Underneath the candles there was a sign.

“Candles. Minimum donation 25p. No Copper.”

An interesting mindset there. However, what ‘clinched’ it for me was the following.
I estimate that the equivalent of over £10,000 may well have been spent by a private individual to fight this application. Or had the church opened its coffers? When this writer called the press office of the Salford Diocese to ask the question: ‘Did the church fund these costs’? he was met with a condescending lecture from a Father Walsh who clearly considered the question imbecilic. Of course the church backed him, did I want to see The Hidden Gem closed down? Eh? Church closed down? Where did that come from? I was baffled by this bulldog of a priest and he never answered the question in the end. He suggested I called the Canon. “His number is in the public domain”.

I support two charities, one the Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy charity, for whom myself and the rest of the committee recently raised £30,260 at the Charity Premiere of the James Bond Film, and privately, Sight Savers, giving cataract operations in Africa saving and restoring sight to people suffering from cataracts, something which I was afflicted with over ten years ago. £17 in Africa can give the gift of sight.

The fact that either the Canon, or indeed the Church, has spent such substantial sums on such a petty affair seems to me obscene and un-Christian. I recall that Jesus quite liked a good party? And £10,000 would have restored the eyesight of no less than 588 people.

If the church has used its resources in this manner, in this Christian’s mind, it is a shocking abuse of power and resources.

It is for this reason that ManchesterConfidential.com will be backing Ithaca should they decide to appeal. This publisher is fairly sure that his 110,000 readers in the majority will be behind him.

Mark R Garner

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Comments and rants below.
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I think when you start putting terms like 'clientele', 'elite' and 'footballers' in the same sentence, it's time to give up the fight right there. I'm not a fan of christians of any persuasion but c'mon, there's more to life than wasting your breath on yet another bland 'celebrity' hang out. Everyone knows that neither church nor local council are whiter than white organisations but let a man get a good night's sleep. I'm sure you won't lose any of yours if this establishment fails to get its later license. And, as someone else mentioned, with that much money at stake, the developers should have planned ahead.

Anonymous (contact details provided)

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Gordo you are totally correct, I think the idiots on here have missed the issue completely! The issue is the licensing application that was denied. Why was it denied? That is the issue? 1 man, 1 ordinary man, has made an objection, and this man happens to have mis abused his powers and the church's powers and the church's funds for his own personal gain! And why has the city of Manchester and it's councillors allowed this to happen. That is the question. That is the debate. Justice is the debate and in this case the lack of it. Ithica has been given a 1am license, what difference will an extra 60 minutes make to them or the resident in question. What a load of rubbish? Suggest the Magistrates don't make a bunch of idiots out of themselves when they appeal. Look at the whole of the northern quarter, deansgate, and Piccadilly, all residential areas with tacky bars and clubs all with late licenses! And believe me several hundred residential objections. Yet since there was no Canon involved, strangely enough Manchester planning granted the applications. This debate is about right and wrong. The Canon is wrong and his old boys network is wrong and unethical and bias. That is not very Roman Catholic at all!!!!!!

Neil Fitzpatrick

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I've never before felt compelled to write to ManCon but reading Gordo's somewhat inflamatory article (and knowing Gordo on a personal basis, believe me when I say he is very good at lighting the touch paper and then standing back and watching the flames shoot higher and higher) together with the numerous (equally inflamatory) respsonses it has received, left me with no choice but to reply. Having considered all the responses I genuinely believe that there is a far bigger debate bubbling away under the surface here and one that should be properly addressed - namely that of what is, and what is not, acceptable behaviour and standards when living a city centre. Foussing on and infact hiding behind, the lame excuse of the Catholic Church as the wrong doer in all of this, is to misunderstand the real issue. Depriving Manchester of yet another "exclusive member's bar", by virtue of the fact that the priest of the Hidden Gem has raised an valid objection to a late licence, is to miss the real point. I too like Gordo live in the City Centre, moving here 4 years ago from London and I chose the City Centre as I no longer wanted to commute on a daily basis. Unlike some of the other respondants however, I do not agree with the belief that if you live in a city centre you should have to put up with whatever is thrown at you - endless noise and distruption and other forms of anti-social behaviour. If I lived in leafy surburbia would it for example be acceptable to witness a couple having sex in my front garden at 3am? No. The police would be called and the offenders dealt with. Why then is this kind of behaviour considered ok in the centre of town? Everyone, irrespective of age or occupation, should remember that the City Centre is not simply preserve of the youth of today. Infact, I would argue that the city centre thrives to a large extent precisley NOT because of the young rather instead because of the the older residents with some financial influence who can actually afford to live, work and play here. Not everyone who lives in the City Centre actually lives here want to party 24/7. And that fact seems to have been totally overlooked ny both article and other respondants. People of all ages and walks of life choose to live in the city centre for a wide variety of reasons and the wishes of these people should be taken into consideration. Quite honestly those who simply come into the City Centre at night to use the bars and clubs should not dictate how those who live here actually live. The real issue is about tolerance What should those of us who choose to live in the city centre expect? Personally, I feel that I have a right to go to sleep at night without endless disruption at 4am from people pouring out of bars and clubs, yelling and shouting in the street and causing general mayhem. When I chose to live in the City Centre I chose the location carefully in one of the quieter areas in Castelfield. I still however have to put up with disruptive noise every weekend or when my beighbours open their balcony doors and crank up the stereo. I fully accept that living in a city centre apartment is never going to be a silent expereince and that some noise transference will take place but I strongly disagree with Gordo saying "you get used to it" - actually you don't. Endless noise disruption eventually grinds you down, which is why it is recognised as a form of torture by a number of Human Rights organisations. And whilst I get increasingly annoyed with individuals who choose display anti-social tendancies repeatedly (something I would take issue with in any location and not just a city centre) there are some bigger issues here which ought to be addressed. 1) Why are so many residentail developers being allowed to squeeze more and more unsuitable apartments into increasingly over-crowded spaces? 2) What criteria do the planners at the City Council apply when granting planning permission? 3) Does Manchester actually need more apartments in the centre of town? (Can anyone actaully afford them anymore?) 4) And do we have the right infrastructure in place to deal with all these people living in such close proximity? These and many other far reaching questions need to be urgently addressed. Interestingly I read that the City Council by 2010 wants to have 20,000 residents living in the centre of Manchester. This can only happen successfully if both planner and developers rather than being lead by purely financial gains, actually stop and consider the infrastructre in which these 20,000 people will operate within and consult with residents on how best to do this. One example which already causes endless problems is that of car ownership. Assuming that city centre residents will not use a car and walk everywhere is a popular misconception. Yes, a city cetnre resident may walk around his/her immediate vicinity, but I also know from having worked in the property industry in Manchster, that nearly all of those residents will also own a car, one which needs to be parked safely somewhere within the city. That's an additional 20,000 cars to be parked. Somewhere in your city. Every day. With very few residential developments in town offering 100% parking (most offer only 75% and then at a high price, up to £25,000) that's already 5000 additional cars which need to be housed somewhere within the increasingly crowded City Centre. Ask anyone who has ever tried to find a parking space in Manchester about the difficulties of on street parking and you start to see the size of this problem. But back to the article. From a personal perspective I really don't believe that Manchester needs yet another bar/restaurant/late licence club. but what it would benefit from is an improved transport system and some green open spaces. Given the City lacks any central green space, all the more reason to support and keep open churches such as the Hidden Gem. This church is vital not simply for practising Catholics, but for people from all walks of life who seek a little peace and sanctuary however occasionally that may be. As for the question of funding the cost of a QC, well if the church chooses to spend some of its money on paying a lawyer that is a decision for the church and its congregation. Assfter all this is not public money, rather the Church's own money. Remember that the Catholic church is funded purely by donations from its own congregation and if it chooses to use some of its money in ensuring the welfare of a city centre priest to the benefit of a congregation far wider than those that attend daily mass, the that is the right and the choice of the church. The comment from the press office of Salford Diocese that longer term the Hidden Gem could potentially close down if the priest asked to be moved, is an extremely valid and accurate point. The Catholic Church today is suffering a huge shortage of priests worldwide, with fewer and fewer young men choosing to join the priesthood. Of those that do, many are asked to take on multiple parishes which in itself causes many problems and hardships, for priest and parishoner alike. If the Hidden Gem were to lose its Parish Priest there is a very strong possiblity that without a replacement the church would have to close its doors, so deneying both catholic and non-catholic's alike the chance to attend mass, a religious service or simply a place to pause and gather thought. So Gordo, can I suggerst that instead of bashing the Catholic Church why not instead open up a genuine and intelligent debate about the future of our city and how its residents should live.

Lavinia Lancaster

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Just to say I agree wholeheartedly with you on this issue.

Jane Baxter

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if Arnie has the same success with Ithaca as he has had with Odyssey in Altrincham, he will not need a 4.am. licence, not on a school night anyway! The clientele appear to resemble that of a youth club! Hardly the exclusive haven for the Cheshire Set that was originally promised!

Anoonymous (contact details provided)

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Think everyone is missing the point here. No one is saying the Canon cant live in his house, no one is saying there are detremental effects to the church, what the article says is that there has been a mis abuse of power to sway a licensing decision. What makes a difference is when the church, or any other religous establishment uses their influence. What is wrong is that they did. Everyone in life deserves a fair hearing, and double standards suck. It signals signs of corruption. Give Ithaca a fair trial and a fair decision, they deserve that. Other establishments got a fair hearing, everyone who applies for extened hours and has objections from opponents whomever they may be, should be given an equal opportunity. Justice should prevail. In this case it did not. Perhaps Sir Howard Bernstein and Constable Todd should investigate this further and sort his councillers and the old school officers of the law out once and for all.

Ivana Wilson

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Personally I thank the Canon for getting rid of another Elitist overpriced Manc bar that will further push the city centre into the hands overpaid and leave the majority of people left to play in the suburbs. Perhaps the reaction is more to do with the fact that the Manc elitests haven't got there way for once. Having recently moved to London I'd suggest you should move down here, you can have your fill of overpriced dining and private members clubs. Its great news that an individual has been able to screw somebodies business plan, when they obviously never considered for an instant that they wouldn't get a license till 4. Maybe some of those millions should have been spent on some research, eg asking the residents what they thought? Its nice to see that you are willing abuse your publication to try and get your own way... and using Church consiprarcy theories to get across your point, perhaps you should read a little less Dan Brown?

Tom Beardmore

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Gordo is becoming quite obviously biased in who pays his wages. Apart from describing Manchester 235's restaurant as the best he's ever experienced - without even tasting the food!!! Apart from calling the likes of Cocoa Rooms, Pesto and other non-Confidential customers, he's been wetting himself over Itheca for ages now - obviously another of his customers! Why don't you actually get on the case of moaning about the truely awful architecture going up in the city centre or complain about the plans for more skyscrapers in the Castlefield basin? If you're going to print what you're paid for, then at least do it a bit more discreetly!!!

Anonymous (contact details provided)

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So, these Doubting Thomas' think that Ithaca will be the downfall of Manchester's nightlife as it will sport a 'private members' lounge...Is there not the space here for a spot of exclusivity, in a city which caters for the masses too? Think Printworks. Why only a 1am licence, will that really interupt with Mass or Father Clinch's beauty sleep; sorry to be harsh, but why live in a City Centre, and then moan about nightlife??! Forget your troublesome Sugar Lounges and Panaceas, let's give this place a chance to prove that Manchester is not all about stabbings and crime, who knows, with people running it who have a clue, maybe it can prove us all wrong.

Anonymous (contact details provided)

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Wonderful article, as ever, Gordo on the eternal subject of God v Mammon (latest score God 1, Mammon down 4 million). The obvious solution seems to be a compromise. Arnie should move the entrance round the back so the inevitable 2 queues (one made up of chavs desperate to experience the belle monde lifestyle of the rich and famous, the other 'VIP' queue made up of the tedious cokeheads that pass as slebs in Manchester) would wend their way to the rectory door. The good Canon could then move amongst the fallen in an attempt to redeem them and guide them from the path of wickedness. After all everyone knows that cocaine is God's way of telling someone that they have too much money. Maybe it's all part of a masterplan, God moves in mysterious ways.

John Nuttall

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Dear Mark, We have been closely observing the licensing antics and disputes between what we describe as the Rich and The Religious, with Canon Clinch from the Roman Catholic Church known as the Hidden Gem and restaurant operator Arny Hira & Co of Ithaca. Before we carry on, please note that we are an organisation that have no prejudice to any religion or religious establishment, whether it is a Church, Synagogue, Temple or Mosque etc. However, what we do not like is when our justice system is abused and especially when religious influence, or in this case religious pressure deters the result of a legal proceeding. Rumours are fast spreading that a hearing between both parties was already pre-determined by the licensing committee assessing the application. That is unfair, unethical and totally wrong. Some have even defined this as corrupt. Come on Manchester, don't put a stink on our name. We should shine for the rest of the country. We don't need any bad publicity in this day and age. It took a long time to build Rome remember? Like any business which is built over years, it can easily be destroyed in minutes, ask Gerald Ratner all about that! (ooops!) Regarding the Church, we were astounded, disgusted, sickened that The Canon had appointed Queens Council as his legal representation for the hearing and got the Church to pay for him? Does Money grow on trees these days? Why would one require Queens Council for a licensing appeal? Couldn't a normal solicitor at minimal cost be sufficient? Wouldn't the money have been better spent on a hospital, a school, the Church itself or given away to people whose lives could be changed through a charitable foundation? Guess the Lord only knows that one! CONFUSED: How is it that the Canon managed to some how submit a petition of 8,000 people contesting the application. We are not legal eagles here but the fundamental rule states that only residents in the area can object to a licensing application. Hmm, guess what? The only resident in that area is Canon Clinch. What is more baffling is that, not even 100 yards down the same road, is the restaurant bar and grill and Panacea which boasts a 6 A.M. license? Where is the logic in that? To add fuel to the existing fire, the press club round the corner also has a 6 A.M. license. Manchester seems to have got it wrong this time and these days there are too many people sickened by the politics that derive from religious influences, because unfortunately as we all know religion is a good thing when it is contained to an individuals personal opinion or to a degree in disciplinary means. But when used for the wrong reasons, or misused, it can lead to total instability and cause mayhem. COMPARABLES: It's strange there are venues like the Sugar Lounge and Cocoa Rooms, where stabbings and shootings have occurred and yet they are, never mind allowed, extended licensing hours, but still continue with permission to trade. What happened to logical and lateral train of thought, does it exist within the minds of the people that run this city? Manchester needs the likes of Panacea, Manchester 235, Cloud 23, Living Room and the new Ithaca concept and whoever else wants to bring elements of luxury to this city. It needs further injection of capital, glitz and glam. It needs the likes of the BBC and the Bank Of New York and other major corporations to migrate here and make Manchester their home. We are at a stage where Manchester can develop into an astonishing city, that's influenced and mirrors the likes of other major capital cities in the world such as London, Paris, Milan and Madrid. In fact if we do this right, we can start to innovate rather than imitate. However this won't happen, if we hold back on the city's developing corporate, residential and hospitality sectors. Especially with bias rulings like this one!!!! We could go on, but the principals behind our views are simple straight forward. 1) We have legal system for a reason in the UK, so that people get the chance to be heard with fairness, and logic. 2) Don't mis-abuse religous power for personal gain when it comes to Justice, becasue the people in the majority won't let that happen. 3) To develop this fantastic city and protect it's interests at all costs. How in our day and age of war and terrorism, fuelled together with religious instability in this environmentally unfriendly world, can we let this happen? Especially in this great city of Manchester. We urge the Canon Clinch, Arny Hira and his team behind Ithaca, the city of Manchester and the Greater Manchester Police to work together on this stand out case and not to waste any more money arguing over what looks like bruised egos. Life is too short, turn this negative into a positive. Come to a compromise gents, Ithaca want a 3 A.M. or 4.A.M, why not appeal for a 2 A.M. and donate monies towards a gateway system, that is, if the Canon is truly worried about people walking down his alley way. Just don't let this get out of hand, the national media is waiting to jump on this.... And that will be embarrassing for all involved and costly. Don't waste money when it could be used to help all walks of life from all races and religous backgrounds. But most of all, be fair and let justice prevail. That should be addressed regardless. There is no excuse for that. JUSTICE: jus·tice –noun 1. the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness: to uphold the justice of a cause. 2. rightfulness or lawfulness, as of a claim or title; justness of ground or reason: to complain with justice. 3. the moral principle determining just conduct. 4. conformity to this principle, as manifested in conduct; just conduct, dealing, or treatment. 5. the administering of deserved punishment or reward. 6. the maintenance or administration of what is just by law, as by judicial or other proceedings: a court of justice. 7. judgment of persons or causes by judicial process: to administer justice in a community. You will notice there is no reference to Religion in the definition of justice! Guess thats all folks, Stay Healthy, Stay Focused, Stay Real! We will voice our opinions and concerns on any other immoral issues. MMG _(ATS) Make Manchester Great _ (avoid the stink)

Anonymous (contact details provided)

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Think that is your sainthood f***ed! Get Karney on the case, tell him it is a gay bar!

Anonymous (contact details provided)

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Christ Gordo!

You make it sound like the members bar being denied a late licence is going to result in the death of 1000’s, it’s a bar/ restaurant not a sodding hospital wing! Your 'opinion pieces' (actually make that your opinions AND your pieces) are becoming more ridiculous and self obsessed as time goes by.

I for one wouldn't have thought that the type of pumped up posing tosser this place is likely/trying to appeal to it’ll be either too expensive or have some ridiculous door policy, it’s not likely to be accessible to and I think we all know who it's for in reality (I’ll give you a clue it’s not lunch time shoppers and it’s not the common or garden Mancunian who has a plain old office job!) Are you seriously intimating that this is likely to be the kind of person who'll nip into the Hidden Gem for a quick prayer and a donate for the poor blind people? Your point about attracting people to the city centre is nonsense.

"The top floor will be the private members bar. There is no dance floor. It is aimed at high net worth individuals. Remarkably, the restaurant has attracted the chef who helped set up Nobu, one of the finest restaurant groups in the world"

So, that's footballers, property developers, weekend millionaires and the people off Emmerdale Farm- grate! I thought your piece about the guy from Panacea was off message but this one really takes the michael.

And for the record I am not a rabid Catholic nor am I someone who has trouble accessing clubs and bars but you really do need to get a bit of a reality check (in my very humble opinion of course.)

And well done you for going to watch a film and having a(nother) big fat dinner for charity, I imagine the nuns stuck in India dealing with sick children and destitute people are humbled by your actions.

Now, where do I donate for the 'get gordo more food/booze/self promotion' fund?

Honestly Gordo, you make me laugh, and not in a good way sometimes...

Hypocrisy is awful, and if there has been an ‘old boys network’ then that’s fine, just as your ‘old boys network’ allows you to wander round town writing what you like about who you like, it’s a perk of the job, unfortunately it would appear his contact book is slightly better than both yours and the chef from Nobu (and I for one think that’s quite funny) Maybe someone ‘upstairs’ is taking care of him eh?

I’d be interested in your comments (provided they are not monosyllabic and in fluent anglo saxon)

I think rousing‘110,000 man con’ readers to campaign for a bar vs quite literally the Catholic church and GMP etc etc is going to be an interesting thing to watch.


Anonymous (contact details provided)

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Hi MarkSeems unfair. But that's the largest and most powerful organisation on earthfor you. Still after selling indulgences in Wittenburg, excommunicating HansKueng and Teilhard de Chardin, giving up Rome's Jews to Hitler, squashing atimid Hindu is no big deal.Have sound tests been done? That's all that matters surely. Assume theentrance is not on the presbytery side. I wouldn't think it's the OBN -would be in Salford, but Manchester is Billy, to Salford's Tim, if I recall.Seehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Roman_Catholic_parish_histories#Manchester; however Clinch is chaplain of A Division not all GMP, but as that'sCheetham Hill, I expect he's the big cheese.Do you know of any Catholics in M8 who compete in the nightclub market, andwould be glad to not have competition? Dohhhhh...... (Had Arnie planned tohave Elite on the door?)Follow the money ...

David Atherton

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The divide beteewen rich and poor is, in real terms, greater now than it was during the late C19th. The number of children in poverty is numbering in the hundreds of thousands, the streets of Manchester are lined with the homeless, indeed on one has difficulty making a short journey without being a Big Issue at least once. A short walk out of the city centre to Collyhurst, Ardwick, Ancoats, Cheetham Hill or Longsight reveals people living in abject poverty. It disgusts me that anyone thinks the opening of a private memers bar for Manchester's richest residents is an issue that merits such sentiment. We should instead be objecting to the fact that such an eltist establishment is daring to open in a city that once had a spirit of egality and political radicalism. We all too easily forget that it was here where Marx and Engels observed our (those of us who are actually Mancunian)ancestors and were compelled to make bring about change for the working classes. It was here, where now another temple of the rich stands, on St Peter's Fields where Mancunians led by Henry 'Orator' Hunt demanded a change in the electoral system and an end to the oppressive Corn Laws. We should be embracing our liberal history instead of playing into the hands of the wealthy who seem to be an ever expanding tribe within our midst. Despite being fudamentally against religion, I cannot deny that Churches do much to alleviate poverty and suffering. To prevent a member of this organisation, indeed any organisation, from enjoying a full nights sleep, enabling him to carry out his duties to the best of his abilities is at best unfair, and at worst a denial of his basic human rights. To potentially deny this man his right to decent night of sleep is barbaric, particularly since he does not choose his place of residence. Despite claims that soundproofing will eliminate this issue I am aware, from relevant experience which I will not elaborate on, that situations of that type are rarely simple. I am familiar with a number of late night bars in venues across the country that have installed state of the art soundproofing only to receive numerous complaints of noise disturbance. To suggest that preventing a bar from opening until four a.m. in some way restricts Manchester's potential for development is ludicrous. The growth of this city has never nefore required such a venue and appears to have developed at a more that staisfactory rate. I he truly cares about Manchester, why isn't one of Mr Garner's preferred charities based here in the city? Is Chrities Hospital not worthy of his attentions? Or perhaps Francis House doesn't really do much? Perhaps the in planning stages of Ithaca the choice ofvenue was poorly considered and they have only themselves to blame for getting caught up in this mess.

Anonymous (Contact details provided)

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Interesting article As the bar/restaurant/nightclub is aimed at "high net worth individuals" it's obviously a bit elitist. Fair enough one might say, however I hardly think a supporter of this place should take exception to candles being worth no less than silver. Otherwise a well written article, though it would have been better to defend an establishment that would cater for more of us plebs, and less of the complaints about the old boys network, given the stated aims of the establishment. Is elitism based on the amount of money someone earns better than elitism based on the old boys network? Lou

Catherine Louise Shaw

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As a member of the Restaurant Industry in manchester, I completely agree with everything written above. Effectively, the Canon is stopping the city growing into a city which can give London a fair run when it comes to eating out. Where do we sign the petition backing Ithaca? 110,000 Manchester Confidential readers sure beat 8000 Church Goers... How about Man Con put an easy download letter which supporting readers can send to Ithaca to support them should they decide to appeal. Excellent Article by the way.

Anonymous (contact details provided)

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I totally agree. Why should the church once again dictate how a city should be run. Manchester has struggled to become one of the best places in the UK to go out for an evening. There is something for everyone, from the Gay Village, to China Town to Deansgate and the various independant bars in the Northern Quarter. I am sure that the clientele that will be attracted to Ithaca will not be the rowdy type. Not all people who go out for a night are roudy and noisey. If the reason is that the churchhas used its vast wealth and influence thenI feel that Manchester as a city should do the same and organise a petition for the appeal.

Stu Bailey

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Hi Mark As a new resident to the city centre I whole heartedly support the need for Ithaca to have a later licence. I am sure that the church users will not be disturbed by this and will even give them somewhere rather nice to have a bite to eat pre mass!!!! Good luck – we need better restaurants in this city!!! Fiona x

Fiona Guy

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No I don't back you!!Why should some huge concern willing to spend millions, steamroller the individual. If the church hadn't backed the Canon - what chance then of getting a result? Nil, I suggest.I don't suppose the church spend a great deal in advertising, could that be affecting your judgement?

Barry Lavin

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I felt I needed to comment on the Ithaca article. For reasons that should become obvious, I haven’t put my full name to this email, but my point remains the same My husband is a councillor, and serves on the planning committee of a borough council……………………………councillors have to go on planning training before they can sit on planning matters, so that they are “au fete” with the laws surrounding planning applications…………………….they are told that any “petition”, no matter how many signatures are on it, is classed as ONE dissent against an application……….for this reason my hubby has always advised his constituents that they should right in individually against a planning app., and not sign a petition…………………………. I can tell you with absolute certainty that 2 objectors (as this therefore is given the above) would not be given any seriousness in the planning debate, and it would be seen as therefore, not largely objected against. A recent example of this can be seen in Bolton………….the local authority planned to renovate (!!!!) the centuries old market hall…………….a petition was drawn up which had tens of thousands of objectors on it, and the planning application was APPROVED. Of course, should Ithaca appeal, the appeal will be heard by John Prescotts office……………….should this happen, Manchester Confidential should start up its own petition to ACCEPT the application, and state that as a petition has been accepted in the sum of its signatures, so should this one. The whole thing stinks…………………………….


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Not the least bit surprised at the actions of the Canon in the Ithaca case. Similar thing happened to our good friend Roger Taylor when his neighbour, the last Bishop of Manchester (not Nice Nigel, who is a completely different character!), wanted to sell off the land where Roger has Garden Needs Nurseries, to developers. Roger was bombarded with legal letters, harassed over really petty things like the colour of his fence, or whether weed seeds blew into the bishop's garden. All completely unchristian behaviour, but which could have cost Roger his livelihood and deprived the area of a lovely haven of peace and greenery. I realise that we are dealing with different branches of the Christian church here, but both the Canon and the ex-Bishop show a remarkable inability to empathise or compromise. Shame.

Anonymous (contact details provided)

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Ithaca - I understand your going to back the Ithaca appeal.. Can I just say, is there really any point backing a 4am licence when middle class even high class spenders will be unable to benefit from the 4am licence. I've heard that unless you're "someone" or "flash the BIG cash" you haven't got a cat in hells chance of getting in. Although Ithaca is going to be extremely classy and the place to be seen (if you're lucky) "Plain Jane" from down the road or "Normal Nigel" hasn't got a chance of getting in. By all means - it would be good to have a 4am licence and i'm not knocking your efforts to help them, but if readers of Manchester Confidential.com who would be willing to help Ithaca cant get in - whats the point !

Anonymous (contact details provided)

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What a load of rubbish Mr Garner spouts in his article. As the Manchester Evening News put it in their recent editorial " Manchester has lots of restaurants but only one Hidden Gem". We must do what we can to preserve the city's heritage. It is nonsense to say that the application will have no effect on the church. The setting of the church is a vital part of its attraction. Inevitably a large restaurant like this is bound to create large amounts of waste. You only have to see the stinking mess of over flowing dustbins that is left at the rear of Panacea at the other end of Mulberry street on a sunday morning to witness how this type of venue can detract from the access to the church. And yes the effect on the priests house is important also. A priest has lived in this house continously for over 300 years. This is not some young bloke who chooses to live in the centre of the city to be near to the action, but an elderly man who has to live where he does for his job serving the christian community of Manchester and runnning a historic church. He has no choice where to live. A 4am licence would make the house effectively unliveable, which would in turn jeopardise the future of the church. The building may be soundproofed, but you cannot soundproof customers, security staff, taxis etc associated with the business making noise until 4 am in the morning.In 100 years time, or even 10 years time where will Ithaca be? To say that somehow it is worth risking the future of one of Manchesters most historic building for a restaurant to be allowed to trade until 4 am just cannot be right. The only motive the company has in taking this decision to appeal is the desire to make lots of money not the general good of Manchester. I think Mr Garner needs to have a think about his priorities.

Dominic Stanger

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Marvellous news.How amusing it was to read your article about how much money developers (nodoubt odious human beings - they all are) had put into this restaurant andprivate members club. ugh a private members club, no need for them here inManchester. Let the man get to sleep - not everyone is the kind ofbrain-dead dope fiend that it's necessary to be to get to sleep, and stayasleep, in a room over looking a licensed premises. Your 'journalism' isappalling, sycophantic, slimy corporate sucking travesty that it is itwouldn't even be worth its place in the witterings of a Daily Mail columnThank you.

Ged Gray

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Mark and All at MC-This is the best article I have read on this site and have read quite a few now. It is intelligently written with a well balanced argument. I will be whole-heartedly backing your campaign. Tell me where to sign..

Anonymous (contact details provided)

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Gordo How can you, in your line of work, criticise an established and brilliant man within the Church, for calling on all the resources he has to oppose another ‘upmarket’ establishment. Maybe if Ithaca had done its groundwork in advance, it could have allayed the fears of the Canon. Personally, this city is about balance (I am a regular at much of the city’s nightlife) and St Mary’s has been (and will continue to be) around and providing a service far longer than any of the companies you make a wage from. Just as he done, you’re now calling on your extended network to battle this licensing issue – unfortunately, most of your readers will never get the opportunity to visit such a delight given its restrictions to only the most privileged. I am sure your reasons for battling this are very in line with the same reasons why Ithaca does – money. May the best side win.


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Please put my full email here - I am a scouser fond of this city and have lived i the city for 3 years. This city is not built on bars and nightlife...its the brilliant balance it has for everyone. Why are we so concerned about one place for the ultra elite which many of the 110k will never get the opportunity to visit yet the church and Father Clinch is there for everyone. Father Clinch has done great work for this city in the last 30 years and the history of the church is incredible... Do you think many in this city will talk about the 'Sugar Lounges, Cocoa Rooms and Panaceas in 50 years to come... I hope your article starts a balanced debate From a Northern Quarter Regular x

Michael P Howard

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Hi Mark,I just want to say that your article is a superb piece of journalism, to the point, succinct, and well founded.You should try doing it for a living,King regards

David Walter

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