Manchester’s city centre is buzzing with anticipation as Lower Campfield Market, once the air and space hall of the Science and Industry Museum, gears up for a new chapter as a co-working and events space. The revered grade-II listed building, left dormant for years, is set to be reimagined by All Work & Social, the visionary developers behind major Manchester projects like Spinningfields and St John’s.
Closed in 2021 after its tenure as an extension to the Science and Industry Museum, Lower Campfield Market is on the brink of a revival, thanks to the ambitious plans laid out by All Work & Social. The company envisions a modern co-working hub within the historic walls, coupled with the flexibility to host various events.
Representatives from All Work & Social, including a spokesperson, shared their vision at a licensing meeting held on Monday (January 8). The spokesperson highlighted the company’s dedication to adapting the historical structure to harmonize with the surrounding area while respecting its architectural significance.
“The building itself is a gem, having been inactive since it ceased being the air and space hall for the museum,” the spokesperson remarked. “[All Work & Social] is committed to tailoring it to suit the locale. We contend that the hours and conditions specified in the application are suitable for this city centre location.”
Not everyone in the community shares the same level of enthusiasm for the proposed transformation. During the licensing meeting, local residents, particularly those living near the earmarked events space, expressed strong opposition. One resident voiced concerns about the chosen location, describing it as the “least favourable part of the building” due to its proximity to bedrooms.
“Though it occupies a small section of the building, it’s situated in the least favourable part, adjacent to residents’ bedrooms,” the resident asserted. “They’ve squeezed it onto the first floor, directly next to bedrooms.”
Addressing these concerns, the spokesperson reassured the committee that All Work & Social’s business model prioritizes tenant flexibility, enabling 24/7 access. This approach ensures that events in the space will not disturb others working during the evening. Additionally, plans are in place to install an acoustic curtain to mitigate potential noise issues, considering the challenges posed by the building’s listed status.
“The bar is located in that area. Although it’s a confined space with a modest number of people, many of them will be in close proximity to residents’ bedrooms,” the resident expressed.
Despite the opposition, the licensing application received approval, with a legal adviser citing All Work & Social’s expertise as a decisive factor. The adviser stated, “The applicant is an accomplished operator, and the hours are fitting… [the committee] is confident that the licensing objectives will be maintained.”
While the license has been granted, the project faces additional scrutiny as Lower Campfield Market Hall is yet to secure planning permission for the proposed co-working area. As the project advances, developers are expected to engage with the local community and address any additional concerns that may arise during the planning process.
The evolution of Lower Campfield Market Hall from a museum extension to a bustling co-working and events space reflects the city’s commitment to repurposing historic landmarks, embracing innovation, and fostering a dynamic urban environment. As the project progresses, Manchester’s residents and businesses eagerly await the transformation of this iconic space into a hub of creativity and collaboration.