Manchester

Albert Square extension plans unveiled in Manchester

Image copyright MANCHESTER CITY COUNCIL
Image caption How Manchester's Albert Square could look once extended

Plans have been unveiled to make Manchester's Albert Square "one of the finest civic spaces in Europe".

The city council wants to expand the square by 20%, extending the pedestrian-only area.

Traffic would be limited to one side of the square and events such as the Christmas Markets could be extended.

The plan is part of a major council project to restore the adjacent Grade I-listed Manchester Town Hall, due to reopen in 2024.

Albert Square hosts many of the city's cultural and sporting events including the Manchester International Festival, New Year celebrations, football club homecomings and the Great CityGames as well as the more recent Arena attack vigil and concert.

Improvements to Albert Square were put before a meeting of the city council on Wednesday.

The council will begin work with Transport for Greater Manchester to reroute traffic and reposition bus stops and taxi ranks.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Manchester's Victorian town hall was closed in 2017 to allow a £330m refurbishment to take place

Manchester's landmark Victorian town hall was closed in 2017 to enable a £330m refurbishment to take place.

Councillor Bernard Priest said: "Albert Square is a much-loved public space where Mancunians and visitors come together for a huge range of cultural and civic events.

"These proposals will see it take its place among the very finest international public squares."

Work to create the square, which includes a Grade I-listed memorial to Prince Albert, began in 1863, five years before construction started on the town hall.

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