New Year decision expected on £330m Town Hall refurb

Almost 900 documents detailing the £330m refurbishment and renovation of Manchester Town Hall have been submitted by architect Purcell.

Work on the project, known as Our Town Hall, began in 2018, with various council departments moving out of the grade one-listed building.

The works will see the Alfred Waterhouse-designed Town Hall restored and in some cases new uses installed, along with improvements to Albert Square, which is set to be pedestrianised and increased in size by 20%.

The target date to have Manchester Town Hall fully refurbished and occupied is 2024.

The team includes Lendlease as contractor, Mace as project manager, Ramboll as structural engineer, Planit IE as landscape architect, building services engineer Arup, and Faithful + Gould as quantity surveyor.

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The 895 documents submitted this week to Manchester City Council cover the plans for the Town Hall in depth, including applications for the listed building consent.

The plans include full restoration of parts of the building with the highest heritage importance, including the Great Hall; refurbishment and repairs to the exterior, doors and windows; improved access from Albert Square and Cooper Street; improved and restored lighting, linking the building to the Civic Quarter Heat Network; creation of a dedicated visitor centre; and creation of office space in the upper floors, which the council plans to let out in order to drive revenue.

Cllr Nigel Murphy, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, said: “This is a complex, once-in-a-lifetime project which will secure the future of this Manchester gem. To get to this point has taken a great deal of painstaking work, including detailed survey work since the building was closed, so it’s exciting that we are now seeing these detailed planning applications go in.

“It’s called the Our Town Hall project for a reason. We want to improve people’s access to the building, their sense of ownership of it and share its rich heritage. We can’t wait for it to re-open in all its glory in 2024.”

The planning and listed building consent applications are set to be considered in the New Year.

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