Indicative proposals to pedestrianise and enlarge Manchester’s Albert Square as part of the £330m of works at the Town Hall have been unveiled by the city council.
The outline plans would see the square enlarged by around 20% to significantly enhance its role as an events space.
The ideas for Albert Square were set out as part of a presentation given to July’s full Manchester City Council meeting, detailing progress on the project.
Planit-IE is the landscape architect.
The proposals for the square, which will be subject to full consultation at the design stage, would involve limiting traffic access to only the Princess Street side and extending the square’s pedestrianised areas. According to the council, traffic surveys have shown that fewer than 3,000 vehicles a day use the route. Taxi and bus stops would also be repositioned, subject to consultation.
The design of the reconfigured square will also enhance its safety, security and accessibility, removing the need for the current concrete barrier around it.
The square, with its grade one-listed memorial to Prince Albert, predates the Town Hall and work on its construction started in 1863, five years before construction began on the town hall.
Cllr Bernard Priest, lead member for the Our Town Hall project, said: “We are making significant progress on this ambitious project to safeguard, refurbish and partially restore the iconic Town Hall building while enhancing its surroundings.
“Albert Square is a much-loved public space where Mancunians and visitors come together for a huge range of cultural and civic events. It is, in many ways, the heart of Manchester. These proposals will see it take its place among the very finest international public squares.”
The Our Town Hall project will see the grade one-listed Manchester Town Hall building repaired, refurbished and partially restored over the next seven years.
The building, currently closed to enable works to progress, is due to re-open in 2024.