Manchester City Council

Sports, leisure & the Arts St Peter's Square Conservation Area

Improvement and enhancement

Scope for improvements in St Peter's square is limited to refurbishment of listed buildings and redevelopment of the others. Any proposals should relate to the existing building context in form, scale, height, massing and material, and be complementary to the character of adjacent listed buildings.

New and refurbished buildings in the area should be neither diluted nor superficial reflections of historic buildings but should have a vitality of their own. Bland copies would make no positive contribution but would simply devalue the historic character of the area.

In the listed buildings of St Peter's Square there is a great emphasis on proportion, not only of the whole facade of each building but also of the openings and their position. These techniques have been lost in much post-war architecture, but when proposing new structures near to such buildings, the basic design principles of an over-large ground floor, a middle portion and a top part which creates a varied skyline, must be respected if the harmony of the area is to be enhanced.

Materials used in cladding buildings fronting St Peter's Square are predominantly stone, which is commonly white in colour. The notable exception to this is the Midland Hotel. New development in the Square must take account of colour and material and also avoid conflict with other nearby buildings.

It will be apparent that almost all windows in the listed buildings are vertically proportioned, i.e. taller than they are wide, and most are of the sliding-sash type, set well back from the front masonry plane. In cases where they have deteriorated beyond repair, replacement windows should be set in the same plane and be of a similar kind to the original windows. In new buildings, it is advisable to set windows back as far as possible in order to create deep modelling on the facades. The characteristic corner emphasis, although less apparent in St. Peter's Square than elsewhere in the city centre, is still in evidence and will therefore be encouraged in any redevelopment. Care must also be taken over the design and positioning of signs and canopies which should not compromise the original character of the architecture and be designed so as not to compete with the architectural details of buildings.

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