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Purcell’s £330m revamp of Manchester Town Hall set for approval

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Manchester City Council is set to approve Purcell’s plans for a £330 million refurbishment of the city’s Grade I-listed town hall at next week’s planning committee

The Gothic Revival hall, designed by Alfred Waterhouse, has been used for council business since it opened in 1877.

Now AJ100 practice Purcell has drawn-up a revamp which includes upgrades to electrics, IT, lighting, heating, ventilation and acoustics.

The proposals will also create a new exhibition space for visitors and replace a modern link building with a ’more sympathetic’ intervention.

And it will see the restoration of the Great Hall, including a series of murals depicting Mancunian history by Ford Madox Brown.

A report by Manchester City Council’s director for planning, published ahead of the planning committee next Thursday (16 January), shows the scheme has been recommended for approval.

It also reveals that the scheme has been backed by Historic England and The Victorian Society, which respectively praise the design as ‘exemplary’ and of ‘extremely high quality’.

Manchester Town Hall has already been closed since 1 January 2018, as a multidisciplinary team used cherry-pickers and drones to investigate the building.

The findings of some of the investigation fed into the 893 documents making up the huge planning application, which Purcell formally submitted in November.

Purcell won the job back in 2017, after seeing off rival bidders including Avanti Architects, Hawkins\Brown, BDP and Donald Insall Associates. 

The council has appointed Lendlease to carry out the renovation, which is not expected to finish until 2024.

Purcell manchester town hall planning document november 2019

Purcell manchester town hall planning document november 2019

Project data 

Architect Purcell
Structural and Civil Engineers Ramboll UK
Landscape Design Planit-IE
Building Services & Engineering Ove Arup & Partners
Quantity Surveying Faithful+Gould 
Construction manager Lendlease
Client Manchester City Council

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