Plans for Manchester City Council’s project to refurbish, partially restore and upgrade the city’s iconic Town Hall have been approved.
The Our Town Hall project, which is due to be completed in 2024, will safeguard the long-term future of the Grade I-listed building – which was designed by the celebrated architect Alfred Waterhouse and opened in 1877 – while increasing public access to its heritage features and treasures and enhancing its Albert Square setting.
895 documents were submitted by the project’s architect and heritage consultant Purcell, on behalf of the council, to cover plans for the Town Hall in minute detail, including applications for the listed building consent required to ensure that any necessary alterations to the nationally-important building are carried out in an appropriate way.
The plans include the full restoration of parts of the building with the highest heritage importance, including the Great Hall as well as the Refurbishment and repair work to the building’s fabric, doors and windows and roof.
There will be improved accessibility, with extra lifts and sloped ramp access from the Albert Square and Cooper Street entrances and improved lighting inside and out, as well as the repair and restoration of lights with heritage importance
There will be an upgrade of the building’s heating – linking it into the new low-carbon Civic Quarter Heat Network – and other infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption
The project will also see The creation of a dedicated visitor centre within the Town Hall and improvements to catering facilities
The planning applications have also secured approval for scaffolding to be erected during the works, plus additional protective measures for the building and its special contents while the project is carried out.
Separate plans to turn Albert Square into one of Europe’s finest civic spaces, which would see it increase in size by around 20 per cent with only one side Princess Street remaining open to traffic, have also been approved at a meeting of the council’s Planning and Highways Committee on Thursday 16 January. The plans were submitted on behalf of the council by public realm specialists Planit-IE.