Approval likely for Piccadilly Gardens plan
The £2m improvement plan for Piccadilly Gardens devised by Legal & General Investment Management and Manchester City Council looks set for approval after receiving majority support at public consultation.
The city council’s executive will be asked on 8 February to note the consultation’s findings and give the green light for plans to be further developed ahead of a planning application.
The public realm improvements are part of the £10m investment by L&G in Piccadilly Gardens, where it bought the One Piccadilly Gardens office block for £75m in 2014.
Almost 300 people attended the consultation sessions, with more than 200 feedback forms completed. Seven questions were asked, the main one being whether people support the overall package – 63% were in favour, with 28% replying in the negative.
The plans include the removal of the existing pavilion building and feature wall, to be replaced by two new pavilion buildings, linked by covered public space. There will be additional seating throughout the gardens and additional soft landscaping, plus new walkways.
The negative feedback received ranged from the commercially implausible “One Piccadilly should be demolished” through the thoughtful “Evergreen trees should be used in the Gardens to ensure they look vibrant all year round” to the oft-cited “an open paved public square would have been preferable”.
Extra seating and improvements to lighting were both supported by 89 per cent of respondents.
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Piccadilly Gardens remains an extremely busy public space which is used by more than 16 million people a year. But we know there is considerable room for improvement and these proposals will help make it a more welcoming family environment.
“These should be real and sustainable changes for the better compatible with Piccadilly Gardens’ role as a major thoroughfare used by hundreds of thousands of people a week as well as a destination in its own right.”
L&G’s head of real assets Bill Hughes said: “We welcome the comments and feedback and will be considering all feedback carefully ahead of a planning application being submitted. We are pleased to have received a positive initial response from the public.”