Library Walk, the controversial structure linking the Town Hall Extension and Central Library in Manchester’s St Peter’s Square, is now open for public use.
The council commissioned SimpsonHaugh & Partners to design the connection between the two buildings as part of the renovation of the area. The doors of the new installation across the walkway will be open during the day but closed between 10pm and 6am.
Campaign group Save Library Walk opposed the public path stopping up order but planning inspector Mark Yates, who held an inquiry in November 2014, decided in March that the council’s planning permission should stand. There were 123 objections to the stopping up order at the inquiry.
Save Library Walk had until 22 April to proceed with a judicial review but this option was not pursued due to costs.
According to a statement from the group, “campaigners who fought to save Library Walk in Manchester remain defiant. Although they lost the battle to save the beloved right of way they say a range of important issues were uncovered which could not be considered by the planning inspector. They are now exploring other ways to pursue these complaints.”
Save Library Walk said that these complaints include the decision to build over a right of way before planning permission was granted, a lack of proper consultation with the community and administrative errors.
A Manchester City Council spokesman said: “The Library Walk link structure was the subject of a thorough and detailed public inquiry which found in the council’s favour. Proper process was followed and the result is a welcoming walkway which serves as a clear and visible entrance to the integrated town hall and Central Library complex. This group are entitled to their opinions about its merit but they are not borne out by the facts. The suggestion, for instance, that a right of way has been lost is clearly untrue when Library Walk is – and will remain – open for 16 hours a day, from 6am to 10pm.”