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Manchester’s threatened Palatine Buildings put forward for listing

The listing request has been prompted by plans to demolish the early Victorian complex and replace it with a strip of lawn.

The Victorian Society has asked English Heritage to recognise the Palatine Buildings on Victoria Street in Manchester as buildings of national importance.  Chetham's Music School, which occupies the most historically complex site in central Manchester, has applied to demolish the three buildings as part of a major redevelopment project. A new concert hall and enhanced boarding facilities for pupils are included in the plans; the Palatine Buildings would be replaced by a piece of lawn.

The Palatine Buildings were built between 1837 and 1845 by the manager of the Manchester and Leeds Railway Company, while Victoria Station was being built one block away to the north-west. Although the three buildings have been altered; losing their parapets, cornices and window sashes - inside many original features still remain.

'They may have modest architectural character but they are a key part of the historic streetscape in the oldest part of Manchester,' said Kristian Kaminski, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. 'They sit on a very busy road and give a well defined, robust edge to the public space, as well as shielding the medieval complex behind from the noise and pollution of the highway.'

‘To destroy some of the earliest surviving railway buildings in Manchester for a strip of lawn which will border a busy A-road is utterly wasteful'.

Demolishing a building which makes a positive contribution to a conservation area is also contrary to government planning advice. These buildings enhance the Cathedral Conservation Area and the society believes they must be kept.

Wednesday 1 July, 2009

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