Manchester moves to demolish Piccadilly Gardens wall

The city council has requested almost £2m to kick-start regeneration of the much-maligned public square, including demolishing the free-standing part of Japanese architect Tadao Ando’s concrete wall.

Manchester City Council’s executive committee will be asked to approve £1.8m of public funding for the first phase of the project when it meets on 11 March.

The sum is intended to “fund a number of early improvements to improve the area’s appearance and people’s experience of it – including the demolition of the free-standing part of the concrete wall,” a council document said.

The remainder of the concrete pavilion, which was built in 2002, is likely to be transformed into a living wall under proposals from landscape architect LDA Design, which was appointed in January to deliver concept designs for improvements to Piccadilly Gardens.

LDA was also behind an earlier proposal from leaseholder LGIM Real Estate to regenerate the city centre public realm. The proposed £2m overhaul was popular with the public but was not progressed due to funding issues.

The latest funding request – which would cover just the first phase of the scheme – is also intended to cover additional costs associated with the scheme’s development, including gauging public feedback on outline plans.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “This is a key step in the transformation of Piccadilly Gardens. We have been listening to people’s views about the area and we are determined, working with landlords, businesses, residents and property owners in the nearby area, to support changes to make it a thriving and welcoming place.

“We know we have got to start investing in the area now to deliver a space that meets the aspirations of Manchester people. The fact that we are planning to commit so much funding to the first phase of the scheme alone hopefully underlines the extent of our commitment.”

LDA expects to publish three different designs to be consulted on over the spring.

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