The project aiming to safeguard and repair Manchester Town Hall and Albert Square will see councilors meet on 8 March.
Within the meeting, senior councilors will be asked to give the plan its final go-ahead. The project in question plans to boost public access. In doing so, they are hoping to ensure the building and Albert Square continue to play a role at the heart of the city.
The Town Hall will be 140 years old this year. Despite remaining structurally sounds, signs of its age have begun to show. Without significant work to address the damage that has occurred over time, the condition of the building will deteriorate and no longer be fit for use.
Designed in the 1860s, the building also needs work to provide modern access and safety standards — all while maintaining its prestigious heritage.
An initial budget. confirmed by independent expert analysis, has been set at up to £328.3 million. This figure includes a sizeable contingency element which should reduce over time.
Significant heritage features of the building, such as the famous Great Hall and its Ford Madox Brown murals, will be restored if the project is approved. External repairs to the roof, stonework and drains will be carried out on a like-for-like basis. Significant work is also needed to electrics, plumbing, heating, ventilation and lift installations – all of which are embedded in the fabric of the building.
Deputy Council Leader Bernard Priest said: “We are confident that we have a scheme which will deliver real and enduring benefits for Manchester.
“Not only will it safeguard this much-loved masterpiece for current and future Mancunians, it will also improve public access to our Town Hall and its treasures and support the city’s economy by giving the building an enhanced role as a visitor destination – and even potentially as a base for emerging businesses”.
The Council’s Executive will also be asked to support recommendations on the appropriate mix of uses for the refurbished Town Hall following independent expert analysis of various options.