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

PLANNING | Town Hall and Portugal Street set for green light

Dan Whelan and Sarah Townsend

Two high-profile schemes, the redevelopment of Manchester Town Hall and a residential scheme on Portugal Street, are among schemes set to be considered at Manchester City Council’s planning committee next Thursday 16 January.

The first scheme to be determined at the meeting is Manchester Town Hall. A string of applications to refurbish the grade one-listed building, and related works to pedestrianise Albert Square, are recommended for approval.

Place North West reported in December that a decision was expected on the £330m Purcell-designed scheme early this year, after preliminary works began in 2018 with various council departments moving out of the building until after the project’s completion, targeted in 2024.

The works will see the Alfred Waterhouse-designed Town Hall fully restored and, in some cases re-used. In particular, the first application to be considered details improvements to the Great Hall; refurbishment and repairs to the exterior, doors and windows; improved access from Albert Square and Cooper Street; restored lighting, the creation of a dedicated visitor centre; and the addition of new office space in the upper floors, which the council plans to let out to boost its revenues.

A second application to be considered at the committee meeting is for listed building consent for the external and internal restoration of the parts of the building with the highest heritage importance, including the Great Hall together with installation of new building lighting.

A third and related application details improvements to and expansion of Albert Square, which is set to be pedestrianised and increased in size by 20% under plans drawn up by Planit-IE.

The works include installation of a new surface water drainage scheme; removal of existing trees and replacement tree planting and other landscaping; installation of new lighting, signage and street furniture; creation of sloped access to the Town Hall; highways and servicing access and other associated works.

The latest documents have been submitted by Deloitte on behalf of the council.

PSE Public Realm

Two separate planning applications from Portugal Street East Limited are minded for approval next Thursday.

The first proposes the phased demolition of existing buildings on the 2.25-acre site near Piccadilly train station.  The site is bounded to the south east by Adair Street, Portugal Street East to the south west, the Metrolink and Longacre Street to the north west, and Great Ancoats Street to the north east.

A series of small to mid-scale industrial and office units are to be demolished, with the exception of Aeroworks, to make way for a public realm that will require all parties involved in the regeneration of PSE to sign a collaboration agreement.

These parties include Capital and Centric, whose Leonardo hotel scheme is the most advanced of the PSE proposals, as well as Olympian, and Forshaw Property and Land.

Proposals include a comprehensive re-surfacing of the area with both hard and soft landscaping, the creation of a public square, improved pedestrian and cycle connections and the installation of new street furniture, cycle spaces, feature lighting and bollards.

The landscape architect for the development is Re-Form and Deloitte is the agent.

Portugal Street East June 2018

The second application proposes the development of a two-block residential scheme on plot A of the PSE Masterplan after an application for the demolition of the existing Rammon House was granted in 2018.

A 29- and a 23-storey block will offer a total of 488 one and two-bedroom apartments. The scheme proposes 27 car parking spaces, 492 cycle spaces and landscaping.

The development is the result of a joint venture between Olympian Homes and Aecom with the latter’s construction arm, Tishman, taking the role as lead contractor for the project.

Consideration of this application was deferred at the meeting of the Planning and Highways Committee on 19th December 2019 to enable a site visit to take place but it is slated for approval next week.

The architect for the development is Jon Matthews Architects, Re-Form is the landscape architect and Deloitte is the agent.


A proposal from Hong Kong-based developer Far East Consortium for 80 homes on the corner of Addington Street in Manchester’s New Cross district are also recommended for approval.

FEC proposes the construction of a 6-9-storey residential building comprising nine townhouses and 71 apartments on a 0.3-acre site bounded by Addington Street, Cross Keys Street, Marshall Street and Chadderton Street. The development would provide a range of homes, with 29% being one-bedroom units, 60% two-bedroom and 11% three-bedroom units.

The building would also contain a resident’s lounge, refuse plant, electricity substation, cycle storage, an internal landscaped courtyard and improvements to adjacent footways on the surrounding streets, following the removal of an existing car park under the plans.

Planning approval is subject to a contribution of £220,000 towards off-site affordable housing.

The scheme is part of the wider regeneration of the New Cross area under the New Cross Development Framework, which seeks to deliver new homes in the city centre. Several developments have been completed or are near completion such as the Marriott AC Hotel, Staycity aparthotel and a residential scheme along Oldham Road.

Avison Young is FEC’s planning consultant and Hawkins/Brown is the architect on the scheme.

Startrax Oval Motorsport has submitted an application to extend its consent to host stock car racing events at Belle Vue stadium until planned demolition work begins.

In December 2019 plans for the demolition of the stadium and the development of a residential scheme on the 16-acre site were granted despite the submission of various petitions and letters of objection.

Startrax’s application requests that it be permitted to continue to use the stadium until it is demolished.




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With regards Manchester / Ancoats. How about getting the buildings that have been started finished before we start more? Due to business closures there are several developments that continue to drag on and on and are a blight on the area. I do know this isn’t really how it works but Bardsley’s Blossom St site and the monster on Evert Street need a final push from someone to just get done!

By Becky

Becky, Bardsley went into administration only 2 working weeks ago. So you’ll be waiting until a new contractor has been appointed before you see Blossom Street completed. You’re right this isn’t how it works – each site and development has its own unique program, why would anyone wait for a development elsewhere in the city to finish.

By @Becky

Really Becky? That’s so ridiculous I don’t even know what to say.

By Aaron

You tell ‘em Becky!!!

One at a time please guys FFS

By Deli Llama

The plans for Albert Square look great but five years before the works are complete is ridiculous how the cafe, pubs and shops around this area are going to trade while this work is going on is anyone’s guess.

By Monty

Monty, the Albert Square pedestrianisation is not going to take five years. The entire project will, which in the main is the work to the Town Hall building itself. I imagine the Albert Sq project will commence imminently once the legal road closures have taken place. This will also tie in with the work to the public realm in Brazenose.

Really great project and can’t wait to see it finished.

By Steve