Manchester LGBT+ centre targets 2021 completion

Work on the £2.4m North West LGBT+ hub is expected to start by the end of March and conclude next February, according to its operator.

The existing 2,400 sq ft single-storey building on Sidney Street, off Oxford Road in Manchester city centre, will be demolished to make way for a 6,000 sq ft three-storey building, under the proposals from The Proud Trust.

There will also be a 1,700 sq ft café, 2,000 sq ft of offices and 2,200 sq ft of leisure space.

Stripping of the interiors by contractor City Build is to begin on 23 March, the trust said. Following this, the roof and walls will be removed and complete demolition is expected by the end of April. The whole project is expected to take 42 weeks to complete.

Ali Hanbury, centre manager at The Proud Trust, said the project was initially set to start sooner but changes around fire safety regulations following the Grenfell Tower tragedy meant designs had to be reworked.

Hanbury also said outside funders had to be sourced given that the centre is operated by a charitable trust. The main funders of the project are Manchester City Council, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and Big Lottery Fund.

The land and the building is owned by Manchester City Council. In order to proceed with the development, The Proud Trust gained a leasehold on the site for 50-years through a community asset transfer.

Ste Garlick, senior consultant at architect Urbed, which designed the scheme, said: “User involvement has been key to the development of the vision, brief and the design of the new LGBT+ Centre.

“The co-design process involved staff, volunteers, and user groups of the existing LGBT+ Centre, informing decisions on all aspects of the project from internal spaces to the external appearance of the building.

“The new centre has also been designed through a fabric-first approach to energy efficiency. A robust thermal envelope and air-tight layer will ensure the building is comfortable to work in and visit, while maintaining low running costs and avoiding excessive maintenance requirements.”

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