Manchester Central, Manchester Central, c PNW

Conference space is being scrapped to enhance Manchester Central's amenity offer. Credit: Place North West

Cobden Rooms overhaul planned at Manchester Central  

Underused conference space at the 166,000 sq ft Manchester Central Convention Complex is to be converted into a bar, restaurant, and meeting space that takes inspiration from Ducie Street Warehouse near Piccadilly station. 

Cobden Rooms comprises 9,000 sq ft of event space in the front foyer of the venue, which was added in the most recent expansion project between 2007 and 2010. 

However, it is being scrapped in order to enhance the complex’s amenity offer, under plans lodged by Manchester Central. 

A Manchester Central spokesperson said: “Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and as such we are always looking for new ways to innovate and develop our space.
“We believe this transformation will enhance our visitor experience and provide delegates and exhibitors with a social environment to network and collaborate. The space will be open to members of the public throughout the day, introducing new audiences to Manchester Central and the varied programme of events we host.” 

The design and access statement submitted with the application says the scheme takes inspiration from the ground floor of Ducie Street Warehouse, an open plan venue that provides space for meetings as well as a restaurant and café. 

The reworked Cobden Rooms will be capable of operating in different configurations, “ranging from the entire space being combined with an event in the main hall, to the venue being largely closed but with the coffee shop remaining open to external customers only”, according to planning documents. 

As well as plans to repurpose the internal space, the proposals feature a discreet outdoor seating area, too. 

Up North Architects and Taylor Design Architects are advising Manchester Central on the proposals. To learn more, search for reference number 137413/FO/2023 on Manchester City Council’s planning portal.

Cobden Rooms, MCCC, c PNW

Cobden Rooms was added in 2007. Credit: PNW

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Just what Manchester is craving. Another bar and restaurant space to add to the dearth of such places in the immediate area between Peter St and Deansgate/Castlefield. Open all day too to drag the punters in. How novel. I know, why not convert the whole complex into a multifunctional Arts Complex to take the things that Arriva Studios can’t find space for in the White Elephant by the Irwell?

By Bewildered Mancunian

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