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The Ace, the CPO and demolition

Helen Clifton investigates whether Derek Adams, landlord of the Ace of Diamonds in Newton Heath, is right to claim his pub is to fall victim to his politics

Published on December 11th 2009.


The Ace, the CPO and demolition

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act,” reads the banner on the side of the Ace of Diamonds, the Oldham Road pub that is the de facto headquarters of the North Manchester branch of the BNP.

Clearly, landlord Derek Adams, prospective council candidate for the BNP, feels some commonality with George Orwell, author of the quote and a writer famed for his anti-fascist views and social conscience.

Adam's pub – along with surrounding houses – is under a compulsory purchase order (CPO), and is due to be demolished by Autumn 2010 as part of regeneration plans for Miles Platting.

He claims the council is pulling down his pub because of his views.

It has been CPOed because I am the North Manchester organiser for the BNP,” he says. “Manchester City Council are not strong enough to admit they are doing it for political reasons.

“I was never included in the CPO until I started to make waves about the whole PFI (private finance initiative project) round here.”

For a party which is chiefly renowned for being overtly or covertly anti-immigration, through policy and public opinion, Adams is careful to distance himself from that particular topic with the Ace of Diamonds row.

He says he thinks there is, “far too much immigration, and that this area had changed beyond recognition,” but adds: “This is nothing to do with immigration. It is to do with greedy politicians taking back-handers for prime real estate.”

Regeneration plans for Miles Platting were agreed in July 2007 by the council's executive after extensive consultation, and the formal CPO process was confirmed in February after a public inquiry last Summer.

Despite his strong views, Adams will not be fighting the CPO. But he says he wants more than the £138,000 compensation for his land and business.

The Ace of Diamonds will be replaced by a residential scheme. New East Manchester, the partnership responsible for the regeneration, add that the masterplan for the area includes a new 'community hub', to help replace any community role the pub may presently fulfil.

Newton Heath and Miles Platting councillor, the Labour Party's, John Flanagan agrees with Adams that the pub should stay – but for entirely different reasons.

He pours scorn on Adams' claims of political bias, adding that he “abhors” his politics.

But, he says, the present site of the Ace of Diamonds, located on a congested road and sandwiched in between garages and a viaduct, is far from suitable for family homes.

“I think it is absolutely ridiculous to say that it is being CPOed because it is a BNP pub. That would be illegal, and no council officer would touch such a decision with a barge pole. And once he gets his compensation, what's stopping him from setting up down the road?

“But I support the fact that it should stay up. Demolition is a waste of public money. What is the benefit to the people of Manchester? I wouldn't want to live there. So why should anyone else live there? I wouldn't want to see any further housing being built though.”

New East Manchester says Cllr Flanagan should take up his concerns with the council's executive cabinet, who granted outline planning permission to demolish the Ace of Diamonds and the other works around here. More detailed proposals will be subject to consultation.

Eddie Smith, Chief Executive of New East Manchester, says: “This decision has nothing to do with political allegiance at all. It's about progressing an ambitious private finance initiative which will see £160 million of public money invested, along with a similar amount of private sector funding, in order to breath new life into this part of the city and make it a better place to live for local people.”

So in answer to the question of whether Derek Adams is right to claim that his pub is to fall victim to his politics, the answer seems a categorical no he isn't. Many pubs have fallen victim to regeneration plans up and down the country. And to suggest backhanders is equally ludicrous.

Perhaps there's another way of looking at this. Perhaps the politics flows the other way. Raising the issue gives Adams' party extra profile and makes their cause seem again subject to attack by the 'establishment'. In which case it builds on the party's current policy of gaining support by saying they stand for a white working class population and its traditions - in this case a pub which is ignored by all other political parties, but also happens to be BNP and falls coincidentally in a regeneration area.

There may well be political motivation behind the row over this CPO. But from which direction the politics is coming seems another matter.

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29 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

ADDecember 11th 2009.

Good article.

Traditional Pub LoverDecember 11th 2009.

Kevin H i knew someone would pick up on the fact that i stated councillor Leese doesnt hail from Manchester but should, which personally i think ashould be a criterion for all council leaders. Am i wrong for thinking that players from Manchester United should all hail from Manchester then? like they used to? is that also too parochial for you to comprehend? I think people who hail from their own cities have its best interest at heart generally and can serve the cities they represent better be more accountable. Leese has his fingers in many pies (perks of the job) and is feared by many within the council who call him Stalin behind his back! Of course that wont ever get reported in this lefty politically biased city though will it!!

rosieDecember 11th 2009.

I like journos to have their own opinions. That way, I can decide to avoid publications which promote views I find to be offensive.

Trevor silkDecember 11th 2009.

Smitty of course she is. That's clear isn't it? It's clear the BNP are using this as a political football. With that money Adams could easily open up elsewhere. The last paragraph or two or spot on.

derek adamsDecember 11th 2009.

In reply to Anonymous says..“ Yes, I am proud to say that my pub does have all those qualities, it also welcomes all who know the meaning of good behaviour, Polish or not. I am not sure however if you are using the ‘Anonymous says..“’ Pseudonym because you and your mates are illegal and cheating the system over here. If so, I will have to report you.

jaybeeDecember 11th 2009.

So it is all a plot by the BNP to get some cheap publicity! What a lot of nonsense. This pub happens to be someone's home and livlihood, whether he be BNP or a member of the Communist Party. It is his home and business and worth way over a measly £138,000. I challenge Trevor Silk to find a similar property as the Ace for that sort of money. But we miss the point here. Regeneration is of course needed after decades of misrule and neglect by Albert Square. No-one denies that, but to demolish a well loved local landmark that has stood there for over a century is short-sighted. Prince Charles destests the monstrosities of modern architecture and who can blame him. Souless blocks of a monotonous nature is what we dont need or want. This pub should be left standing and incorporated into any regeneration schemes. The old and new blended together, keeping in touch with our past history and allowing locals a place of entertainment and warmth. A political judgement? You bet. I wonder if Labour Cllr; Flanagan voted against this CPO of the Ace? Perhaps he will tell us. Thanks.

Brian GrailDecember 11th 2009.

I think given the allegation is so clearly spurious then it helps give an insight into the mind of the person who uttered it. A mindsight where everybody is against the BNP - and that it's all some dark conspiracy.

AnonymousDecember 11th 2009.

Excellent article - well done. I dont think it will be as easy as some people are saying for the landlord to just move to another pub, I suspect he may struggle to get a licence next time.

derek adamsDecember 11th 2009.

With regard to the last two paragraphs of the article penned by Helen Clifton, her opinions are obviously coming from a left wing perspective and are in no way impartial.How does she presume to know that no backhanders have changed hands between Manchester councillors’ and private companies, which stand to profit immensely from the acquisition of prime real estate so close to Manchester city centre?Why would it be ludicrous to suggest such a thing? Has she forgotten the expenses scandal in which many parliamentarians have proved themselves open to the odd ‘fiddle’, if our government are indeed open to blatant corruption then I am sure some insignificant councillors could easily be tempted by the smell of hard cash.As for the comment ‘saying they stand for a white working class population and its traditions’; it is indeed party policy to stand up for such issues, mainly because all other political parties have long since abandoned these issues and the BNP are not merely saying that is what we stand for, that is indeed what we stand for.As a footnote to Helen, on the second line of your article it should read ‘categorical no it isn't’ instead of ‘categorical no he isn't’, towards the end of the piece ‘coincidentially in a regneration area’ should be spelt as follows, ‘coincidentally in a regeneration area’.I am sure you would achieve a more balanced cross section of readership if you became a little more unbiased with your opinions.

old saltDecember 11th 2009.

Councilor John Flanagan says what is to stop Adams from setting up down the road. Is this the same road that is not suitable for family homes and the Ace of Diamonds? Should all pubs on busy roads be bought out by CPO on Health and Safety grounds? Get a grip John. That pub has stood the test of time and is the only link senior citizens have in the immediate area to meet up for a quiet drink, a game of dominoes and a chat. Politics has come into it. Of that I have no doubt. Pull down the derelict dance hall that has been an eye-sore for years and re-build around the pub, an ideal mixture of old and new, and it keeps the community together. Or is that too obvious?

AnonymousDecember 11th 2009.

Man United used to be all Catholic and City were Prots but is this business of Manchester for the Manchester Folk a new version of of BNP membership criteria? How far back do you have to have been a member of the Manchester Folk?

AnonymousDecember 11th 2009.

Derek your pub sounds great. Can me and my mates from Poland come in this Friday lunch time? We're all old fashioned, relaxed decent people with decent traditional values, we won't verbally or physically abuse anyone, but we are all plumbers, brickies, chippys etc etc etc. I'll do you a deal, if we come in and we CAN'T hear the tumble weeds roll across the saw dust floors, I'll tell my mates not to steal any of your women like them pesky blacks did back in the day. Deal?

The Anonymous PolakDecember 11th 2009.

Derek of course we're not here illegally; I'm not really Polish and of course I'm not going to come to your pub. I was juut taking the piss out of the BNP. As for cheating the system, I wouldn't think of doing such a thing, there are enough no mark, work shy, free loading, dole taking British peopel doing that. EDITORIAL COMMENT: No slanging match allowed.

Jonathan Schofield - editorDecember 11th 2009.

Here's the rule with these types of articles. No name calling allowed or it becomes an unseemly bearpit. Just informed comment or please don't bother.

Amy CraneDecember 11th 2009.

I would like more articles like this O, so rather than losing its bottle I think Mancon is showing its bottle by publishing it.

ODecember 11th 2009.

EDITORIAL COMMENT: no name calling allowed, see below

derek adamsDecember 11th 2009.

In response to Anonymous says.. “I suspect he may struggle to get a licence next time.”If I decide to buy another pub, the council would indeed be extremely foolish to attempt to refuse me a licence.The Ace of Diamonds has been successfully run for the past ten years with a completely unblemished record.There have been no complaints about the pub from local residents, no violence, no under age drinking and no drugs, the police have never been required to attend the premises.This is why local people do no want to lose this pub; they feel safe drinking in such a relaxed atmosphere, which is so uncommon nowadays. This truly is an old fashioned pub with decent traditional values which people must conform to in order to be welcome.All are indeed welcome as long as they can behave in a manner that does not offend other people either verbally or physically and that is why all who really know it will sadly miss this pub.Therefore, I will confirm that if the council tried to refuse me a licence they would truly have a fight on their hands.

Kevin HDecember 11th 2009.

You parochial person you. Who cares if the Council Leader is from Manchester or not. I know Richard Leese and he is very committed to the city and has done it immeasurable good. Have you, traditional pub lover, done a fraction of what he's done.

AnonymousDecember 11th 2009.

PFI! Bloody hell, can't believe the government still use these poor value for money schemes. There's usually nothing wrong with the properties they demolish either (see Liverpool Pathfinder project), it's just they'd rather hand over a fat contract to greedy developers rather than sympathetically work with what's there. As for this pub, BNP or not the landlord is entitled to be there, and I say that as somebody with strong leftist opinions. Farcical Manchester City Council.

angri o' chaddyDecember 11th 2009.

Funny how an issue like this one becomes so contentious, once the precious little ' nimbys' of nearby Ancoats, 'Pankhurst' Collyhurst, and other recently gentrified North East Mcr get a whiff - I noticed none of them gave a flying whatsit when the gorgeous little ' Pack Horse' bit the dust, or indeed any other closed- down Oldham Road hostelries. BNP or not . I'm just glad Mr Adams is highlighting the very real problem of our disappearing licensing trade

smittyDecember 11th 2009.

I hope that Helen's assertion of commonality between Adams and Orwell is said with her tongue firmly planted in her cheek. It is Adams and his ilk that Orwell warned us all against, most notably (of course) in 1984. The BNP latching on to Orwell is laughable as their fetish with Winston Churchill. The thing that makes me sick about this is not that this rotten little pub is being demolished, but rather that someone like Adams is going to profit as a result.

jaybeeDecember 11th 2009.

to 'anonymous Polak' wow, you don't say! Just taking the piss out of the BNP indeed. Did you not realise that Derek was doing the same to you? Pathetic.

ODecember 11th 2009.

'No name calling'... so you can call this establishment a 'little rotten pub' - see Smitty's rant - but you can't suggest that a BNP member is a racist? Which of these two comments constitutes 'name calling' more? Sounds like ManCon's losing it's bottle as well as it's readers. Not sure why I bother. See ya.

pint of Lancaster Best pleaseDecember 11th 2009.

I agree with Amy. ManCon has show it isn't afraid to tackle the issues as they arise. The problem with disgruntled O is that his politics are the opposite of the owner of the Diamonds. He simply couldn't resist lowering the tone of the debate hence his post being deleted, and rightly so. I also think the CPO offer of £138,000 is a disgrace when you consider the prime site, land and homestead, an offer I would vigerously challenge if I was in Adams' shoes. The pub should be left alone and any regeneration should incorporate this old and well run pub. Our old time bars are closing at an alarming rate of 50 a week and what is the government doing about it? Nothing. Today's modern plastic bars have no soul and serve fizzy bitter, lager and of course the alcopops. Pubs like the Diamonds should be encouraged to stay afloat. It and similar pubs are our past heritage, we should think long and hard about getting rid of them.

smittyDecember 11th 2009.

I know Trevor, I was just saying that to give me an excuse to say the rest! It's a good article (although repeating the allegation about backhanders is perhaps a brave/foolhardy thing to do in terms of libel!).

Traditional Pub LoverDecember 11th 2009.

Yes there seems to be some foul play here regarding the CPO although without firm evidence its hard to say, there could no doubt be political agendas here however, ive been past the pub and saw the few houses behind boarded up and also wonder if any others are actually to follow the same fate....i will be watching the council closely. Derek Adams is entitled to his opinions many of whom i do agree with and Im not ashamed to say so! there has been far too much unfetered immigration and from a cost/benefit perspective i cannot see any positives...its merely been a quick fix for big business to make even more money from exploiting low wage earners, ie: greed! and the recent wide open door immigration policies have done nothing to harmonise us as a nation during this difficult time is ludicrous!! what other european country would allow such a thing to happen? do we call the Swiss racists for allowing a referendum on whether minarets should be built? No!! but they disagreed and voted democratically against them. How refreshing.....theres nothing wrong with trying to preserve british values and fair play to Derek for trying to preserve his livlihood, we should set up a petition and present it to the council...This council is just as bent as the people at the top of the tree.......they will do anything to retain money and power. Nepotism is rife at the council and standards are slipping. Time for change i reckon. All this and greed go hand in hand sadly....the nature of politics im afraid these days. Manchester is no exception. Mr Leese our leader (not even Mancunian sadly!) attends the Ed Milliband pre Copenhagen climate change debate at the GMEX last Tuesday and fails to mention hes a member of a steering group linked to Peel Holdings who were bidding for Manchester Airport a few years back, but keeps unusually quiet on the subject of a possible expansion of the airport which we should not want nor need. If the council wants to get respect and reduce carbon emissions by 41% by 2020, airport expansion is not the answer, yet it does make you who wonder about fingers in pies, whos backs are being scratched and the ass kissing that goes on! The nature of the game sadly! Good luck to Derek Adams for fighting the cause!

AnonymousDecember 11th 2009.

Smitty.... Adams' 'rotten little pub' indeed. I wonder if you have ever crossed its door, but I doubt it. How could he possibly 'profit' from a mere £138k? Where else could anyone set up a new home and business for such a sum? In the grand scheme of things this sum is peanuts. Incidently, Orwell's 1984 novel was aimed mainly at the dangers of Communist totalitarianism...check it out for yourself.Save the Ace of Diamonds I say, save our locals.

derek adamsDecember 11th 2009.

Helen mentions ‘Adam's pub – along with surrounding houses – is under a compulsory purchase order (CPO).She forgot to mention that the only ‘surrounding houses’ to be demolished, are three perfectly well built council houses that are being used as sacrificial lambs in order justify the removal of one troublesome landlord.All at taxpayer’s expense of course.The photographs should have shown more of the houses and buildings which are to remain, or would that have been too revealing as to the real reason for these politically motivated Mugabe style land grabs.

Pedro1874December 11th 2009.

Very interesting to see that Geoge Orwell's quote is still as true in 2009. Shame on the council and all councils who hide behind these CPO's and abysmal compensation. Regeneration can be a good thing for rundown areas but common sense (a very rare commodity these days) should prevail and "Good old English Pubs" should be a protected species instead of being allowed to close at the rate they are at the moment. Best of luck Derek. I will be in for a pint and a chat.

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