The Friends of Library Walk want to save this special place from the council’s proposals to gate and glaze it. We feel the scheme is unnecessary and a waste of money. We oppose the closure of public space and stopping up pedestrian routes and want to protect a much loved public right of way!

************************** UPDATE MARCH 9th 2015 ****************************

The Planning Inspectorate has granted Manchester City Council permission to extinguish the Right of Way along Library Walk. This follows a Public Inquiry which concluded in November last year. The full judgement will be online soon. Library Walk Order Decision > click on this link to see the full decision notice.

The Friends of Library Walk are very disappointed in this decision. We are also deeply concerned about the precedent it sets regarding the enclosure of public space. Manchester City Council granted itself planning permission and proceeded to build over a public right of way despite clear opposition from residents. We have always felt their justifications for doing this were spurious, and it is frustrating The Planning Inspectorate were unable to give weight to many of the issues we raised. These included concerns regarding equality and access by Manchester Disabled People’s Access Group. Experts in architecture and heritage including The Twentieth Century Society and Manchester Modernist Society provided testimony about the importance of the world class architectural merit of Library Walk. Many citizens spoke passionately about their love of Library Walk and criticised the Councils lack of consultation. Questions were also raised about accountability and the decision to spend £3.5million of Manchester citizen’s money, ‘at risk’ until the Inspector’s decision, on an act of cultural vandalism despite lack of evidence it was needed.  We believe the streets of Manchester are our common treasury, and within this realm Library Walk is a particularly special gem. Something precious will be lost with the extinguishment of the Right of Way.

We are now exploring our options and how best to continue the fight to Save Library Walk. In the meantime we would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to the thousands of people who have supported our campaign. Please get in touch if you have any ideas, questions or want further information. There will be a public meeting 6pm on Monday 16th March to discuss what we can do next, venue tbc please email for details

Contact for more information:

Morag Rose: email or tel 07974929589


************************** UPDATE NOV 18th 2014 ****************************

Dear friends and supporters of Library Walk
As you may know, the Public Inquiry is still ongoing. It will reconvene at 11.15 Monday 24th November in The Coroners Court Manchester Town Hall. It may also continue Tuesday 25th. This is not certain, my best guess is that it will conclude Tuesday, but the Monday is definite. The day will be dedicated to hearing objectors make their statements and be cross examined, because all the  council witnesses have spoken.
Please come and watch, if only for a short while, as it really helps to demonstrate the depth of support there is to Save Library Walk. Its been fabulous to see everyone and very  interesting watching proceedings.  As ever my deepest thanks to all our witnesses – an incredible team whose testimony has been impressive and passionate. It has clearly had an impact and I firmly believe we stand a strong chance of victory.
I am pretty confident I  be speaking on behalf of The Friends on Monday 24th November, if you are interested in commenting on my statement of case please let me know and I will send you a copy (as you can imagine it has evolved during the inquiry). There are other ways to show your support too, and all are deeply appreciated.
The Planning Inspector has been continuing to accept written statements from additional parties, I’ve been slightly surprised by this but it has been great. Last week a very moving letter was received from a remarkable woman who remembers The King and Queen opening Central Library and who frequently enjoyed using Library Walk when it was open. If you would like to submit anything, and remember your views and experiences are valid and valuable, please let me know and I will be happy to pass it on.
Please keep up the very powerful publicity machine. You can:
  • follow us on twitter @savelibrarywalk or use #savelibrarywalk
  • write letters to the local press and / or comment on online news stories or message boards
  • wear a badge! let me know if you would like me to post you some (free, thanks to our generous facebook supporters)
  • tell you friends, colleagues and everyone else about the campaign in any way you can think of (please do share any ideas you may have)
  • Please also let people know the Inquiry is open to the public, and please do come along if you can.
As ever, my heartfelt thanks to everyone for your support.
Please let me know if you need any more information, or have any comments, evidence or information to share with the campaign. Together we are truly making a difference and have an excellent chance of being able to Save Library Walk.
My very best wishes

************************** UPDATE NOV 4th 2014 *******************************

Dear Friends and Supporters of Library Walk,
Wow! What an amazing couple of weeks it has been. Huge thanks to everyone who has contributed to Save Library Walk in so many ways.
The Public Inquiry into the Stopping Up Order has been adjourned and will resume 11am Thursday November 6th and 9.30am Friday November 7th in Manchester Town Hall. It is open to anyone to attend, and people are able to pop in and out – so even if you can only spare a short time you can help show people care. A supportive crowd is a wonderful thing.
Personally I have been impressed by the meticulousness and fairness of the process, It has also been more intense and more entertaining than I expected – with more than a few moving testimonies and the occasional surreal moment (such as learning according to the council the carbuncle is not a building!).  The statements by supporters of Save Library Walk so far have been brilliant, and I’d like to extend a special thanks to everyone who is speaking up at the inquiry. Their diversity, passion and expertise is a real strength and it is a pleasure to fight together.There is still at least one more council witness, and 6 objectors, to be heard so interesting times are ahead and we really do have everything still to play for. We have such strong arguments and some very awkward questions left! New objectors are also being allowed so if you would like to join the team you can just come along to the inquiry and ask to be heard. If you want any more information or support in doing this please get in touch, we have informal meetings for witnesses to discuss our arguments and you would be most welcome. Also, please contact me if you have any information that may be useful or questions you would like to raise.
Save Library Walk has also been getting some excellent press coverage, a few examples include:
Please let me know if you spot any more, and do keep making a noise – letters to the press, comments on stories, tweets and retweets all help keep our ginnel roaring!  If you are on twitter please follow @savelibrarywalk and use #savelibrarywalk
Finally, and thanks to the generosity of our facebook supporters at we have been able to order an extra supply of campaign badges so you can show your support for Library Walk wherever you are. They will be available at the inquiry, but if you can’t make it we now have enough to post out so please let me know if you would like a badge.
Once again my heartfelt thanks for your support, I hope to see you on the 6th or 7th, or to spot you wearing a badge with pride!
Best wishes
tel 07974929589
twitter @savelibrarywalk

************************** UPDATE OCT 2014 *******************************

So the public inquiry got underway last week. It was billed to last 2 days, ended up taking 4 days and we are still not done! The inquiry will continue on 6th November at 11am and on 7th November at 9.30am. More details about venue will be updated, At the inquiry objectors of the stopping up order will be able to make statements and also question the witnesses to interrogate the reasons behind why a stopping up order was not applied for in time, and whether one should be granted. We still need support, and you are welcome to drop in for an hour, or however long you can spend – there are badges too!


To keep up to date with the campaign via social media, check out the twitter feed @savelibrarywalk and tweet using #savelibrarywalk or join the facebook group here.

Here are some photos of last week’s action at the inquiry:

2014-10-22 12.18.37

2014-10-22 12.34.02

************************** UPDATE SEPT 2014 *******************************

Dear Friends of Library Walk

Final preparations are being made for The Public Inquiry on 21st and 22nd October and my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has helped us get this far. We have a very strong dossier of evidence and many people have kindly been in touch to see how they can help. We realise not everyone wants to speak in public but there are many other ways to support the campaign.
1) Please attend the inquiry (or part of it) if you can. Its at Manchester Town Hall and a room full of supporters would be a tremendous way to demonstrate the strength of feeling (and I am sure I wont be the only nervous witness glad of friendly faces!)
2) Contribute to our space survey – if you have a spare hour or so please can you spend some time observing how the library is being used at the moment. This would be really helpful and contribute to our case, please contact me for details about how to do this.
3) Publicity! We want to make Library Walk the ginnel that roared and make sure everybody knows about the inquiry. If you have any ideas, contacts or skills to help us do this please let me know and I can link you up with our press team. If you tweet please follow us on twitter @savelibrarywalk
Any help you can give is much appreciated, thank you so much for all your support so far. Please feel free to forward this email to anyone who may be interested and to contact me for further information.
Best Wishes


************************** UPDATE JULY 2014 **************************

Dear Friends of Library Walk

I hope this finds you enjoying the Summer. Things may have seemed quiet but behind the scenes we have been trawling through Manchester Councils submission to the Public Inquiry into the Stopping Up of Library Walk.  It contains a plethora of controversial assertions and we are now working on our response.  This is a chance to make it clear to an independent inquiry why the carbuncle on Library Walk is so wrong. The Inquiry itself is October  21st and 22nd  but we need to submit a robust written statement by 12th August so have organised a public meeting with our legal experts.

The meeting is NEXT MONDAY 28th JULY 6pm in Seminar Room 3:01 in the New Business School at MMU (next to All Saints Park). Please note this is a change of venue and is fully accessible, there is a lift to the 3rd Floor. Everyone who supports our aims is welcome to attend.

The briefing will include colleagues from the Open Spaces Society and Manchester Modernist Society and other interested parties.  Please join us if you are able to act as a witness for Friends of Library Walk,  want  to make your own representations at the inquiry (we can make sure we all have the most up to date information) or you have  any information that could be useful.  We will offer you as much support as possible to make sure your voice is heard.

If you can’t attend the meeting but would like to be a witness  or contribute in some other way to our case please get in touch with me as soon as possible so your views can be taken into account. Thanks to everyone who has already come forward, it is very much appreciated.

For more information please contact or call/ text 07974929589 You can also find “save library walk” On facebook and if you tweet please use #savelibrarywalk

Thanks once again for your ongoing support and interest in Library Walk, we really appreciate knowing others care about this special place, our heritage and the right to enjoy public space

My best wishes

Morag Rose
Friends of Library Walk

PS  We are a small but dedicated team with a lot of work to do, if you have any experience which could be relevant to us, particularly legal experience or knowledge of the inquiry process please do get in touch. We would love a chat with you so we can be sure our case is the strongest it can possibly be.

************************** UPDATE MAY 2014 *******************************

Dear Friends of Library Walk and other supporters,

Thank you so much for your ongoing support and interest in Library Walk. I am delighted to inform you we now have a date for the public inquiry into The Stopping Up Order which will be held in Manchester Town Hall Extension on October 21st and 22nd 2014.

There are several ways you can help support us and anything you do will be greatly appreciated.

1) We are calling for witnesses to support Friends of Library Walk at the inquiry by explaining why they oppose the stopping up order. This may be becuase you used and appreciated the path or if you have expertise in a specific area and wish your knowledge to be heard. If you are interested in acting as a witness please contact me as soon as possible by email or phone 07974929589 Thanks to everyone who has already offered,  we will of course fully support you in any way needed

.2) You may wish to make your own representation at the inquiry. If you wrote a letter of objection to the stopping up order you should already have recieved a letter from The Planning Inspectorate outlining how to do this, there is a strict timetable to submit your statement of case. For a copy of the letter, more details or to declare your wish to be heard in this way you need to contact quoting ref: FPS/B4215/5/8 as soon as possible. It would be helpful if you could let me know if you do this, and we are of course happy to share any information with you as required

.3) Attend the Inquiry. It is open to the public and supportive faces would be wonderful and show that we are speaking on behalf of many.

We will be arranging a briefing session for everyone to clarify proceedings, ensure a rigourous argument and to be sure we all understand the legal process. I’ll let you know as soon as possible when that is organised and will distribute notes to anyone who can’t attend (if you dont wish to recieve any more updates please let me know and accept my apologies, I will remove you from this list.) If anyone else with legal expertise in this area would like to help us build the case to be as strong as possible please do let me know.

Thank you again to everyone who has supported the campaign for Library Walk, the inquiry would not be possible without you and offers a real opportunity to get our voices heard. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any more information.

My very best wishes

Morag Rose, Friends of Library Walk

************************** UPDATE FEBRUARY 2014 **************************

Dear Friends,

Please write a letter and help us save Library Walk, one of Manchester’s most beautiful places.

A Stopping Up Order has been issued to close Library Walk, if a number of objections are received then an inquiry must be launched by The Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. This is an opportunity to review the whole scheme and our experienced legal team are confident we have a very strong case to present at inquiry.

If you write a letter to oppose the Stopping Up Order we can halt work and trigger an inquiry. Your letter does not have to be long but every letter will count and will help us. The deadline is tight – we have until February 28th to act – and we have been advised against writing a pro forma as letters should be individual but here is a guide to what you could say.

You need to be polite, concise and logical and make it clear you object to the stopping up order. You do not have to live in Manchester to have your voice heard. NB this is a different legal process to the planning application so any previous correspondence is not counted here, but you can of course, cut and paste from anything else you have written. I’m writing a letter on behalf of The Friends of Library Walk and am happy to send you a copy if you want to see.

YOU MUST INCLUDE your name, address and the reference L/NJM/EVD5001/1080. State that you oppose The CITY OF MANCHESTER LIBRARY WALK FOOTPATH, MANCHESTER CITY CENTRE PUBLIC PATH STOPPING UP ORDER 2014 and include your reason(s) for doing so

Reasons to object can include

1) Public Interest
Library Walk is a place of significant architectural merit, between 2 grade II* buildings in two conservation areas and has been an integral part of the city centre topography for over 80 years. Library Walk has an important function increasing the permeability of St Peters Square (which will become more popular as a result of the redevelopment). Improved access, vibrant streets and aspirations to be a 24-hour city have been key aims of recent Manchester Council policy and stopping up Library Walk conflicts with these. Library Walk is a useful and well-loved route for residents which has inspired artists and attracts tourists. Of course these are not the only reasons closure is not in the public interest so feel free to include your own.

2) Closure of Public Space
Manchester Council are seeking closure of a public space and there is a fundamental objection to this. The limited opening times can be changed in the future as once a right of way has been extinguished, it will not be public anymore and there is no power to object to variations. Incidentally the proposed opening hours are shorter than Metrolink opening hours and security should not be a consideration under The Town and Country Planning Act

3) Legal Process
We believe Manchester City Council have been acting illegally as no temporary stopping up order was granted prior to commencing work leaving them open to prosecution, The Council should be setting an example and following the law.

LETTERS MUST BE SENT TO Liz Treacy, City Solicitor, PO Box 532, Town Hall, Manchester, M60 2LA quoting reference L/NJM/EVD5001/1080

The deadline for receipt of letters is FRIDAY 28TH FEBRUARY so please act promptly. Also let The Friends of Library Walk know you have responded so we can provide evidence of widespread public support. We are working with organisations including manchester modernist society, The Open Spaces Society, The Greater Manchester Pedestrian Association and The Ramblers Association and thank you all so much for your support.

If you need any more information please contact me directly on 07974929589 or by email I’ve also got a stash of stamps and envelopes if you need them. Background information can be found at

Thanks again, and please remember every letter can make a difference.

Best wishes

Morag Rose
Friends of Library Walk


Last chance for Library Walk – Friends appeal for support at Thursday’s planning meeting

The fate of one of Manchester’s most unusual walkways, Library Walk off St. Peter’s Square, will be decided at a meeting of Manchester City Council’s Planning Committee on Thursday afternoon (2.00pm, 25 October, 2012). The meeting follows special debates at meetings of the council’s Executive Committee and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee on its plans to gate and glaze the passage, as well as a well-attended public celebration event last month organised by the Friends of Library Walk.



There are several events coming up in the next few weeks – check it out here



Library Walk is one of Manchester’s cultural gems.  It was designed by the celebrated architect E Vincent Harris to complement Central library and the Town Hall Extension, both Grade-II* listed buildings. Library Walk is not an accidental space, but one designed to be that way. It is a space which is highly regarded by the general public and architectural experts alike as an intrinsic part of the heritage value of the buildings on either side.

We all use the walkway because of how wonderful it is! Sadly at present you can’t walk through it, as renovation work is being carried out to the Library and Town Hall, but this website will hopefully help you imagine being there.


Library Walk was also voted as one of Manchester’s Happy Places in 2006 on BBC website!


The article below gives a really good introduction to why we think Library Walk is such an important architectural, historical and cultural gem to Manchester’s urban environment. It has been takne from an article written by Aiden O’Rourke on 2010-04-11.

Library Walk is one of Manchester’s best loved corners, a curved passageway built in the 1930s linking St Peters Square and Mount Street, near Albert Square. It runs between the Central Library and the Town Hall Extension, both designed and built in the 1930s by architect E Vincent Harris.

Library Walk is a pedestrian passageway in Manchester city centre, linking Saint Peter’s Square to the east with Mount Street, near Albert Square to the west. Following the curving centreline of Library Walk I would estimate it to be to be around 120 yards long.

Its unique curved shape is formed by the interlocking profiles of two of Manchester’s mostmagnificent civic buildings: The Central Library to the south and the Town Hall Extension to the north. The Central Library was constructed in the early 1930s and opened in 1934. The Town Hall Extension was constructed in the mid-1930s and opened in 1938. Both buildings were designed by the architect E Vincent Harris.

Library Walk only came into existence on completion of the Town Hall Extension in 1937 and is so is a relatively new addition to Manchester city centre.

Due to its curving path, and the ravine-like effect of the two tall 20th century buildings on either side, with their complementary styles of architecture, it must be one of the most interesting passageways in any British city.

The unique character of Library Walk

From many perspectives its character is unique: Due to its curving profile, it’s not possible to see from one end of Library Walk to the other. Only when you are half way along can you look around and see Mount Street behind you and St Peters Square straight ahead, or vice versa.

Due to the movement of the sun, the appearance of Library Walk alters throughout the day. It is situated on the northern side of the Central Library and so not much direct daylight falls on it. The changing pattern of shadows and light reflected off the sides of buildings, or from windows, has a big effect on the character of Library Walk. The colour of the stonework varies according to whether the weather conditions are wet or dry.

Another unique aspect of Library Walk is its sound profile. Footsteps echo off the exterior walls, and the hum of traffic as well as the ‘toot toot’ of Metrolink trams is echoed along the passageway from one end to the other.

Library Walk is familiar to thousands of people in Manchester city centre who for decades have been walking back and forth along its curving path at all times of the day and also at night in all seasons and weather conditions.

A welcome respite from city life

It’s one of the few corners of Manchester where you can gain respite from many of the often annoying aspects of contemporary British city life, such as traffic congestion, privatised buses, SUVs and stretch limos, double yellow lines, advertisement hoardings and much more.

It’s one of the best loved and most enduring features of Manchester city centre and unchanging corner of a 1930s civic vision of Manchester that remained largely unbuilt.

3 Responses to

  1. J R H says:

    Planning approval by Manchester City Council is NOT the end of the process where the public right of way is concerned at Library Walk. What the 1300 hundred people who signed the petition need to do next is to find out when the extinquishment order is to made AND PUT IN OBJECTIONS and call for a public inquiry – the matter is then taken out of the hands of Richard Leese and the Councillor’s at Manchester and will be decided by the secretary of state’s inspectors. Once the extinguishment of the footpath is advertised (which is a requirement by law) you have 28 days to object. If enough people object Library Walk might still be saved as a public right of way. Involving the Ramblers Association might be a good idea too…

  2. David JB says:

    I cant beleive the city council want to take one of the most beautiful publc walk-thrus away from us.

    Stop wasting our money!!!

  3. CBailey says:

    I was so angry when I saw this monstrosity, I simply despaired at yet another example of moronity so prevalent these days. Who the hell do they think they are?

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