Plans for the much anticipated refurbishment of Manchester Town Hall were approved on Thursday.
The £330m project, described by the council as ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity, will see the Alfred Waterhouse-designed building refurbished, restored and upgraded.
The project will involve the full restoration of parts of the building including the Great Hall, as well as refurbishment and repair work to the building’s fabric, doors, windows and roof, improvements to accessibility and the creation of a dedicated visitor centre within the town hall.
The building, which opened in 1877, will be closed until 2024 while work takes place. Lendlease is the lead contractor and Purcell is the architect.
Mark Goldspink, chief executive of Purcell, said: “It is 143 years since Manchester Town Hall opened and over time this much-loved site has become a public landmark. Our aim is to help keep the Town Hall and Albert Square at the cultural heart of Manchester City as a flagship destination.”
Cllr Nigel Murphy, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, added: “Approval for our plans to secure the long-term future of Manchester’s civic centre piece is a great milestone in the progress of this hugely complex, once-in-a-lifetime project.
“The detail and care that has gone into the work so far cannot be overstated and while there is much more to do, we’re excited to start another chapter…in [the building’s] rich history.”
A separate planning application to pedestrianise the majority of Albert Square, next to the town hall, were also approved at the planning committee meeting on Thursday. The square will remain open to traffic on one side and is set to increase in size by 20%.
The plans were submitted on behalf of the council by public realm specialists Planit-IE.
A total of 895 documents were submitted for both schemes.