Marple residents and heritage enthusiasts are being offered the chance to save an historically important canal side building and convert it to a community and heritage attraction. The building has been at risk of conversion to residential, but a new plan would renovate The Wharf to be a Community Café and Heritage Centre, with a much-needed health and well-being facility too.
The Community Investment Scheme has been put together by The Wharf Marple Community Interest Company (CIC), a social enterprise committed to acquiring, renovating and bringing back into use the well-known former warehouse exclusively for the Marple community. The scheme aims to raise up to £175,000 to purchase the building and people will be offered the chance to invest in the project by purchasing Investment Bonds starting at £100/Bond up to a maximum of £25,000.
Located at the junction of the Macclesfield and Peak Forest canals, the Warehouse building was built around the time the canals were constructed in the early 1800s and sits between two Grade 1 Listed Roving Bridges. In its heyday the Warehouse would have been busy as a transshipment point particularly for goods to and from the neighbouring Historic England Listed, Lime Kilns.
An image of Marple Wharf from the Virtual History Tour
The Wharf Marple Project seeks to tell the story of Marple’s industrial heritage and the significant part that Samuel Oldknow played in the town’s economic, social and cultural development. Oldknow was a prominent local industrialist, owner of the Mellor Mill and undoubtedly the chief architect and driving force in the development and industrialisation of Marple and the canals at the time.
The Wharf Marple CIC, whose Directors are local business people and heritage experts, have worked closely with CRT, many of Marple’s special interest groups and other stakeholders to develop a viable business plan which will secure the long term future of the Wharf building for the community.
The vision for The Wharf Marple
There has been widespread support for the plan from many organisations and individuals including, SMBC’s Conservation Officer, Mellor Archeological Trust, Revealing Oldknow’s Legacy Team, CRT’s development partner, Local Councillors, local business owners and many individuals and residents. As well as the Heritage Centre, cafe and shop on the Ground Floor, the First Floor will provide purpose designed studios for health & wellbeing groups such as Tai Chi, Pilates and Aikido.
Founder Director and Chair of The Wharf Marple CIC, Susan Ingham said:
This plan has been a long time coming but now, thanks to the support we have received and the help from H2O Urban over the past 2 years, we will launch the Community Investment Scheme. It’s a great opportunity for people to be part of realising the long- awaited dream of saving the Wharf for Marple and in providing the much-needed new facilities for community use.”
As Heritage Director, Bob Humphrey-Taylor said:
This is an important local heritage site which will sit well with the recently completed ‘Revealing Oldknow’s Legacy: Mellor Mill and The Peak Forest Canal in Marple’ project. It is vital that this piece of local history is allowed to flourish for the benefit of the local and wider communities. I am delighted to have been asked to be part of this visionary team.”
The Wharf Marple CIC held an open day at Marple Library on Saturday 3rd August, and will be holding other events in the future so that visitors can talk to the Directors and see more of the plans.
For more information about The Wharf Marple Project and how to invest go to the website www.thewharfmarple.co.uk where you can learn about the Directors and their ambitions for The Wharf, browse the detailed Business Plan and download the Investment Prospectus.
You can also like The Wharf Marple Project on Facebook, and
The Marple Website will become a shareholder and invest £1,000 in this great community project.