Plans for a £2.2million refurbishment of the Town Hall have been given the seal of approval by Manchester City Council – and they insist it is going nowhere.
After the successful renovation of the Manchester Central Library and St Peters Square, the council is now turning its attention to the main Town Hall complex and Albert Square.
Councillor Jeff Smith was quick to dismiss any suggestion that the council would ever stop using the Grade 1 listed building.
“This is about making sure the most important building in Manchester is maintained for future generations, because if we don’t it will fall into disrepair. It has already started falling into disrepair and we need to arrest that,” he said.
“I just wanted to quell some fears and respond to a few alarmist headlines and there’s no way we’re going to dispose of the Town Hall.
“There’s half a line in the report which refers to the potential disposal in a worst-case scenario if we didn’t act now, but we are acting now so I just wanted make clear there is no way we will be closing the building.”
Since 1885, the site has been at the heart of public life and, to this day, remains the political and administrative centre of the city.
However, some elements of the building are in desperate need of mechanical and electrical Systems upgrades and essential works to parts of the fabric of the building.
Deputy Chief Executive of Growth and Neighbourhoods Sara Todd said: “The nature of the works include things like heating and lighting, which are systems which date back to when the place was built in the 1870’s, and the essential fabric work to things like the stones the window and the roof.
“Albert Square is also certainly showing wear and tear and needs work to drainage and the surface, amongst other things.”
The council are hoping to build on the success of the Town Hall Complex Transformation Programme and want the maintenance works to improve facilities and broaden appeal.
During construction it is hoped the renovation will address key areas of council strategy such as apprenticeships and long-term unemployment.
The programme has also included work on the Cenotaph, which has moved across St Peter’s Square, but the monument has already been damaged by skaters.
Image courtesy of kaysgeog with thanks