The Chanel Metiers d’Art fashion show has been the talk of the town since rumours started swirling about the work being done on Thomas Street in the Northern Quarter, and now the show is all over and done with, the question remains: what happens to the so-called ‘Chanel tunnel‘ in Manchester? The glass-top structure was purpose built for the street in order to shelter models, guests and staff from the Manchester elements – which did not disappoint – and questions have been asked throughout as to what will happen to the roof.
Many think the roof should stay, making it an all-year-round destination, but some point out the issues with the structure, such as proper drainage and planning permission. It has now been reported that the Chanel tunnel will need to be taken down now the show is over, due to only temporary planning permission being in place.
That being said, the Chanel tunnel could have a bright future in Manchester, with Chanel making the structure available to Manchester City Council if they so choose to bring it back from the original fabrication company. Although it would be bureaucratically impossible to keep the canopy as is, the council will have until early in the new year to decide the fate of the Chanel tunnel.
Bringing the tunnel back would mean applying for permanent planning permission, which could prove to be a lengthy process, and of course the city would incur huge costs to rebuild it, but many point to the benefits of having it permanently on Thomas Street.
The already popular drinking and dining spot that is Thomas Street would no doubt benefit from being able to extend seating outside all year round, and would offer shelter from the pretty common rain we get in Manchester. Some, including North West fashion designer Wayne Hemingway, have pointed out the inconsistency between retaining this structure and still tackling terrible bouts of homelessness in the city, so perhaps the council will consider such things when deciding on the future of the Chanel tunnel.
Realistically, the Chanel tunnel would have to be re-rigged with electrics and lighting and be used as an events space accompanied by surrounding infrastructure such as security, rather than just being used as a roof over the street. This means there would perhaps be issues with access and general footfall to the surrounding businesses – yep, it’s a bit more complex than just a roof over a street.
Luthfur Rahman OBE, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said about the Chanel show being held in Manchester: “It speaks volumes about the regard in which Manchester is already held across the world, but more importantly it also sends a clear signal to international businesses and the international visitor economy that Manchester is the place to be.
“It’s impossible at this stage to even begin to quantify the economic impact hosting the event has had on the city, or to put a figure on it. The true impact will involve not just the direct spend and income generated within the city over these last few weeks leading up to and during the event, but also the longer-term benefits that will come from the massive boost to Manchester’s profile that CHANEL has given the city, that in turn translates into more visitors coming to see what Manchester has to offer, and more businesses choosing to invest here.”
We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for any updates on the future of the ‘Chanel tunnel’, so watch this space.