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5plus wins permission for Trafford town hall revamp

[First look] Manchester-based HKR offshoot 5plus has won planning permission for the £22 million overhaul of Trafford town hall

Planning permission was granted by Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council to expand and rework the Grade II-listed town hall, however the decision has also to be approved by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

The council’s chief planning officer will then ratify the 8,900m² project which will bring together all the council’s office buildings under one roof.

Conferencing and training facilities for both council staff and the public will be created, as will some public garden space and courtyards.

The practice believes the proposals will reduce the number of council staff desks by 60 per cent.

The architects’ view

The focus of the project is on creating a modern, sustainable and holistic working environment, based around four distinct components:

- Refurbishment of the existing Grade II-listed town hall – including the historic council chamber – and the creation of high-quality meeting, conference, training and dining facilities for employees as well as the wider community;
- 4,180m² of new open-plan office space which is accommodated within three two-storey ‘wings’ offering a wide range of work settings to suit users’ needs; 
- A new, highly transparent public reception and elegantly clad conference facility which fronts Warwick Road;
- A two-storey internal street, which acts as an ‘organiser’ of the building, and around which all three of the above components are hung.

The three office ‘wings’ are 15m wide, with 3.2m floor-to-soffit height, maximising natural daylight penetration and allowing natural cross-ventilation. This highly sustainable strategy is further supported through the use of active chilled beams, combined with an exposed concrete frame which will create a low-energy strategy during times when cooling is required.

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