New 'funky' library for Manchester Metropolitan university given green light by council planning committee

The planning committee gave a unanimous vote
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A ‘funky’ new university library will be built in the shadow of Mancunian Way. Manchester Metropolitan University’s (MMU) new All Saints Library has been given the green light by the council’s planning committee, which voted to unanimously approve the application on Thursday (February 15). 

The new building, featuring a striking ‘zig-zag’ design, is the product of an international competition, the meeting heard. 

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“The result is a distinct landmark building,” the university’s planning agent John Cooper told the Town Hall meeting. The project is a central part of the university’s strategy to give an excellent education for its students. By replacing the existing outdated library building this will provide a facility fit for the 21st century.”

The new institution will also be the home for the University’s Special Collection Museum, and the Manchester Poetry Library – the North West’s first public poetry library. That’s alongside a gallery and events space which will both be open to the public.

At the meeting, the only concern councillors expressed were worries that the final building might not look like the plans.

Manchester Metropolitan University's new library given green lightManchester Metropolitan University's new library given green light
Manchester Metropolitan University's new library given green light

“How much room for manoeuvre is there to change it?,” asked Coun Joan Davies. “The distinction this building has is quite welcome. It would be so easy to write fragments of a poem on the side and they have not done that. I like the funkiness.”

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That led planning officer Dave Roscoe to reassure the committee that the ‘first question we ask is “can you build it?”’

“It will be a striking addition to our estate and the Oxford Road skyline, serving as an iconic All Saints architectural gateway to our University,” added Andrew Fallon, MMU’s director of estates following the meeting. “Once built, it will provide a vibrant learning, research, and collaboration hub, empowering our University community and fostering creativity and engagement for future generations.” 

Building work is expected to begin on site in the autumn of 2024. Construction is due to complete in spring 2028, with the library ready for the start of the 2028/29 academic year.

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