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Thu July 02 2020

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Lendlease to manage Manchester town hall restoration

8 Jan 19 Manchester City Council has selected Lendlease as management contractor for its £330m Our Town Hall project despite it not being everyone’s favourite building firm in the city.

Manchester Town Hall
Manchester Town Hall

Lendlease is at the centre of a rumpus in Manchester over its refusal to pay for the replacement of dangerous cladding put up on tower blocks it developed in the city.

Despite the controversy, the city council has appointed Lendlease to manage the repair, refurbishment and partial restoration of the Grade I-listed Manchester Town Hall. Lendlease will work alongside the design team to appoint and manage contractors to deliver different aspects of the works.

The contract notice advertising the management contract last year estimated the contract value at £190m. Overall project cost is £330m.

Councillor Nigel Murphy, deputy leader of the Labour-run council, said: “This appointment is an important milestone in the Our Town Hall project to improve access to this icon of Manchester and safeguard it for current and future generations.

“There aren’t many construction firms with the expertise and resources required to deliver a heritage project of this scale and complexity on behalf of the city and after a rigorous selection process we are confident that Lendlease offered the best overall value.”

Laing O'Rourke also pitched for the job.

Neil Martin, managing director for construction at Lendlease Europe, said: "Manchester Town Hall is one of the city's most recognisable and well-loved landmarks. Lendlease has a long track record of working with heritage buildings and enhancing them for contemporary use and we will bring all of this experience to bear at Manchester Town Hall."

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However, John Leech, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition on Manchester City Council, said: "The fact we even considered awarding a contract worth more than a quarter of a billion pounds to a firm that has treated Manchester residents so appallingly shows just what little regard this council has for local people.

"When it was revealed that Lendlease was in the running for this contract, the Lib Dems demanded the firm not be awarded any further contracts until they resolved the previous issues that were hitting local people here in Manchester.

"But now that Lendlease has been given this huge contract regardless of how badly they have treated local people, Manchester Council must insist that they pay the £3m Green Quarter cladding bill that is crippling local people and end this disgraceful saga once and for all.

“We should, and must, be demanding much higher standards than this for Manchester residents."

Lendlease, as developer of Manchester's Green Quarter, used Grenfell-style aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding on the Vallea Court and Cypress Place towers, which were completed in 2013. As it sold the freehold to Pemberstone in 2015, Lendlease says it is not liable.

“We recognise the concerns of residents with regards to the use of decorative cladding in Green Quarter," the company told The Construction Index back in September. "The issue at Green Quarter is complex, involving multiple parties including Shepherd Construction, who were responsible for the design and build of Vallea Court and Cypress Place, and the current owner of the building, Pemberstone Ltd.”

[See our previous report on the issue here.]

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