Plans for the renovation of Manchester Town Hall are set to be approved next week

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.


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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Wont be any issues with MCC not-validating/dragging this application out.

By G24

330 million is crazy money

By jonny

Knock it down and build a 60 floor glass box, thats progress.

By Clang

So it’s a ‘full restoration of parts of the building with the highest heritage importance,” As a Grade 1 listed building,isn’t it the whole building that has the highest heritage importance. Who’s going to decide the bits that the original designer didn’t do very well? So it’s like taking the Mona Lisa and cropping it to get a better composition.

By Alf Waterhouse

Don’t be so daft Clang, this is the town hall

By Dan

£330 m and 4 yrs shows the scale and complexity of this work. Albert Square and the Town Hall should look truly impressive when completed..

By Nova

It’s going to be a world class area

By Floyd

G24 – if they’re anything like the councils I’ve worked with elsewhere then their internal sign-off before submitting the application won’t be done until it already meets all the validation and other planning requirements. That said, I am aware of one very high profile scheme in a district not that far from Manchester where an internal application was withdrawn the day after being submitted because the head of planning said that as it stood they’d have no choice but to refuse it…

By the light of the moon

Alf Waterhouse – there are quite a few parts of the building where any heritage value has been destroyed by previous restoration, so the options available on those are probably greater. Grade 1 listing also means Historic England will be scrutinising it very closely and could request call-in by the sec. of state if they felt they were being ignored (because it’s a heritage asset it could, I think, be sec. of state for housing, communities and local gov or sec. of state for culture, media and sport).

By the light of the moon

Guess you could film Dracula in it, Gothic Monstrosity.

By Anonymous

What is that daft drawing at the top? It looks like the town hall in Trumpton and nothing like Manchester. The annexe to me is the best part of the town hall. I know that will ruffle feathers but it is beautiful and the perfect backdrop to St Peter’s.

By Elephant

Liverpool has one of these building’s on every corner .

By Anonymous

By every corner…you mean about two streets.

By Anon

One on every corner like St. Johns shopping centre?

By Monty

@Anon Castle St, Dale St, Victoria St, Titherbarn St, Crosshall St, and a good few more are full of them in Liverpool. Nothing away from Manc Town Hall though, its a beautiful building, after all it was also designed by a scouser ;) In seriousness, plans look good and the pedestrianisation along with this will be great, but 330mil for this alone is some outlay!

By Zipper

I am sick of this Liverpool V Manchester nonsense in some of the comments on this site. Both places have beautiful buildings, both have absolute monstrosities. Why not just agree that the North West has some beautiful buildings and try to create a buzz as a region instead of looking like a bickering parochial collective of regional cities.

By Better together

Sounds like a great scheme, especially increasing the size of the square, presumably by knocking down those 1980s red brick buildings on the other side, which if memory serves me correctly were built by Royal Liver Assurance. Bringing new uses in is a great idea!

By Liverpolitan

Alfred Waterhouse (1830–1905) was a prolific English architect who worked in the second half of the 19th century. His buildings were largely in Victorian Gothic Revival style. Waterhouse’s biographer, Colin Cunningham, states that between about 1865 and about 1885 he was “the most widely employed British architect”. He worked in many fields, designing commercial, public, educational, domestic, and ecclesiastical buildings.

Waterhouse was born in Liverpool of Quaker parents. After being articled to Richard Lane in Manchester, he took a ten-month tour of the Continent, then established his own practice in Manchester. Many of his early commissions came from Quakers and other nonconformist patrons. He came to national recognition when he won success in a competition for the design of Manchester assize courts. His next major public commissions in Manchester were for Strangeways Gaol and Manchester Town Hall. In 1865 he opened an office in London, which was followed by his first major commission in London, the Natural History Museum. Meanwhile he was also designing country houses. Here his major work was the rebuilding of Eaton Hall in Cheshire for the 1st Duke of Westminster, which was “the most expensive country house of the [19th] century”.[1] He also designed educational buildings including schools and works for the universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Manchester, and Liverpool. In the commercial field, he designed banks, and offices for insurance and assurance companies, especially the Prudential Assurance Company, for whom he built 27 buildings.[

By Anonymous