Manchester City Council has announced that Manchester Town Hall is set for a £330 million refurbishment in order to prevent the building from further decay.
The Victorian Town Hall site was built in 1977 and is still structurally sound, although it has many elements that are coming to the end of their natural lifespans and also fails to meet the required modern safety and access standards.
Next week, the council’s resources and governance scrutiny committee will analyse a report which outlines potential options for restoring the building, before the executive will go through the same process the week after, although there will be no final decision on the programme or its budget until autumn this year.
A full restoration would cost around £400 million, while essential stop-gap works are estimated to set the council back £250 million.
However, the council has said that it would prefer to take the option of a £330 million upgrade unless outside funding is found.
In autumn, the report to the executive will set out the proposed scheme and the costs that come with it, with the intention that contractors will be appointed to deliver the scheme in the first half of next year, with investigative works beginning in 2018 and repair works getting under way in 2019 with a targeted completion date of 2023.
Since December 2014, survey work has found that the Town Hall’s lift installations, ventilation, heating, plumbing and electrics are all in poor condition because of their age.
However, to replace them this will involve significant building work as they are embedded in the fabric of the building.
The surveys also discovered that the condition of the building’s roof, windows and stonework is also on the decline and will require repairs.
Furthermore, it was revealed that the Town Hall also suffers from poor energy efficiency and insulation.