Five becomes three in St Peter’s contest

Two of the five architects vying to redesign St Peter's Square in Manchester city centre have been eliminated from the competition and the council is now working on more detailed plans with three finalists.

Speculation has mounted in recent weeks that the anonymous contest was to be re-run with a different brief after a winner failed to emerge by the council's own deadline of late summer.

Rumours were that the Metrolink tram stop could be moved, after one of the five shortlisted included this in their proposal, taking the tram stop away from the cenotaph towards the northern Princess Street side.

A council spokesman said they were not willing to get drawn into speculation. The council added in a statement: "A public-private panel met in July to consider five shortlisted designs for St Peter's Square. As a result of this session it was decided to put three of these design teams through to the next stage of the competition. We are currently working with GMPTE to look at technical considerations relating to Metrolink's second city crossing and how its impact on the area around the town hall is best managed.

"Although this has meant a slight shift from our original timescales, we want an enduring space worthy of a leading European city so it's important to get it right. We are looking forward to the next stage of the competition."

The route for the second city crossing, proposed as a future extension of Metrolink, is along the side of Albert Square – the other side of the Town Hall from St Peter's Square – and along Cross Street.

The existing line would cross the second line at the Deansgate-Castlefield (former GMEX) stop but not in St Peter's Square at the plans stand today.

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I recall that the competition brief stated that re-siting of the Metrolink stop was not under consideration, so congratulations to the designers behind submission 016 who stuck to their guns and proposed moving it anyway, proving in the process that it would be folly to leave it where it is now when contemplating spending £20m on an improvement to the public realm.

By UnaPlanner

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