Capital projects are safe, says Leese
Severe cutbacks by Manchester City Council will not affect the £138m renovation of the Town Hall Extension and Central Library or the next phases of the Metrolink, council leader Cllr Sir Richard Leese said.
Responding to questions left by residents on his Leader's Blog on the council website, Leese explained: "The redevelopment of the Town Hall Extension and the Central Library are well under way and too far advanced to cancel. The redevelopment is also about maintaining Manchester's heritage and building on it as we look to the future. Central Library is one of the most important buildings in the city, needed significant work done to it, and would have had to close permanently if we hadn't acted."
The council is currently consulting employees over cutting 2,000 people from its workforce due to a reduced budget from central government. The council has to find £110m of cost savings in the next year.
Leese continued: "We will also be able to locate staff at the Extension rather than at rented locations dotted across the city – which saves money. All the Metrolink extensions are contractually committed and are essential to the future economic health of the city. As well as delivering services today we need to continue investing in the city's future."
Contractor Laing O'Rourke and architects Ryder Architecture and Ian Simpson Architects are delivering the renovations. Manchester City Council has relocated staff temporarily to Ask Developments' First Street and a smaller version of the library is in Bruntwood's Elliott House on Deansgate while the work is carried out.
The new BMX centre in east Manchester and football museum in Urbis are also both contractually committed and remain on track, Leese said.