The management contractor for the huge heritage project to repair, refurbish and partially restore Grade I-listed Manchester Town Hall has been appointed.
Lendlease will oversee the project to safeguard the building for current and future generations and improve public access,as well as enhancing Albert Square to make it one of the finest public spaces in Europe.
However the appointment has come under attack from the opposition Liberal Democrats who say that the £330m contract has been awarded despite an ongoing Grenfell-style cladding row in Manchester.
Green Quarter residents in Manchester are being asked to cough up £3m by the building’s new freeholders, Pemberstone, to replace unsafe cladding Lendlease used in two tower blocks.
Vallea Court and Cypress Place in Manchester’s Green Quarter failed fire safety checks in July 2017 and were found to have cladding similar to Grenfell Tower.
The buildings, which include 345 flats, were developed by Australian company Lendlease and then sold as freehold to investment firm Pemberstone in 2015.
Documents from Lendlease to flat owners at the time of purchase read: “Lendlease will undertake, at our expense, to complete any accepted defect that has arisen as a result of either faulty materials or defective workmanship.”
But a spokesperson for Lendlease says: “Shepherd’s Construction, wereresponsible for the design and build of Vallea Court and Cyprus Place, and the current owner of the building is Pemberstone Ltd.”
Flat owners, many of whom bought their homes through the Help to Buy scheme, have turned to crowdfunding to raise money for legal advice.
Manchester Liberal Democrat Leader, John Leech, said:
“The fact we even considered awarding a contract worth more than a quarter of a billion pounds to a firm that has treated Manchester residents so appallingly shows just what little regard this council has for local people.
“When it was revealed that Lendlease was in the running for this contract, the Lib Dems demanded the firm not be awarded any further contracts until they resolved the previous issues that were hitting local people here in Manchester.
“But now that Lendlease has been given this huge contract regardless of how badly they have treated local people, Manchester Council must insist that they pay the £3m Green Quarter cladding bill that is crippling local people and end this disgraceful saga once and for all.
”We should, and must, be demanding much higher standards than this for Manchester residents.”