Manchester Council backs £3.5m Library Walk link scheme

Library Walk CGI
Image caption Campaigners say Library Walk is a much loved landmark

Councillors in Manchester have backed a plan to create a "glazed link" between Manchester Town Hall and Central Library.

Heritage campaigners objected saying the plan to shut off Library Walk - a curved walkway between the two buildings - closed a right of way.

A 1,300 signature petition, was handed to the city's planning committee.

The £3.5m scheme, drawn up by Beetham Tower architect Ian Simpson, was approved by the committee on Thursday.

The Friends of Library Walk argued that the plan, which would see the walkway closed between 22:00 and 06:00, had effectively privatised public space and robbed the city of a "much loved" right of way and landmark.

A spokesman for the group said: "We made clear and well-argued arguments against the proposed development, and a great number of people are now feeling very let down that the most contentious aspects of the plans were only given passing scrutiny by the committee."

He added: "We're disheartened but not defeated - the fight to save Library Walk does not end here."

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "A crucial aspect of the vision in transforming the Central Library and the town hall extension was to link the two buildings as a single complex that would integrate the services across both and deliver radically improved services.

"It is estimated that up to a million visitors each year will use the Library Walk connection once the buildings have reopened and so it is important that we create a quick and easy access, but also a striking and ambitious architectural statement."

The walk is currently sealed off due to renovation work taking place at the library.

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