Council turns to ’hybrid grass’ to solve Piccadilly Gardens problem

Harry Proudley

Manchester City Council has announced a pilot scheme which will see a section of Piccadilly Gardens sown with reinforced ‘hybrid’ turf, designed to withstand tough conditions, as part of wider works to the public square.

The trial will see a small area next to the fountain undergoing work until Friday 5 July, after which the area will remain fenced off from the public to allow the grass to grow. During this time the majority of the gardens will remain in use and operational.

Hybrid grass technology is most commonly used on professional sports pitches, and the council said it is far more resistant than standard grasses, making the technology more cost-effective in the long term when considering maintenance.  

For years Piccadilly Gardens has endured criticism from councillors, business leaders and the public, often aimed at the decrepit state of the garden’s grass, which easily turns to mud.

If the trial proves a success, the council will then consider expanding the trial area to cover parts of Piccadilly Gardens that are subject to high levels of footfall.

Manchester City Council iscurrently in the process of appointing a lead designer to revise proposals for the redevelopment of Piccadilly Gardens as a whole, including the demolition of the Tadeo Ando wall, and its replacement with a green wall. Leaseholder Legal & General withdrew a planning application for £2m of works on the gardens earlier this year after proposals had been submitted in 2017. The council has said it is still committed to the planning, lighting and other reconfigurations outlined in this proposal.

Manchester City Council’s city centre spokesperson, Cllr Pat Karney said: “For a hard-working public space, we need a hard-wearing grass that can take such massive footfall, especially when the weather does let us down.”

Your Comments

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…..Not as much as you ‘let us down’ Pat

By Bo

I remember the gardens in the 1979’s much better then, rose bushes, well kept, nice laws and benches … we have a 1950/60’s brutalist concrete monstrosity, spice heads and abusive pigeons….now that’s progress…..I hope the new lead architect comes up with a good scheme, a green wall sounds fab….

By Slater

Is this the old Astro turf from Boundary Park? It is astonishing that making this space nice is beyond the wit of those in the town hall. Manchester and open spaces go together like a horse and locomotive.

By Elephant

i’m sure the 600 people living rough at night in Piccadilly Gardens will appreciate this valuable use of critical resources rather than providing them with jobs, accommodation, washing facilities or a public toilet.
The city smells like an open sewer/cesspit now on most days, I actively tell people thinking of visiting not to bother the city is a disgrace.

By marcus

Wow Marcus – slight over exaggeration there! Yes there are some areas which let the city centre down (Piccadilly Gardens being one of those) but telling people not to visit because it’s a ‘disgrace’?! That’s one good way to help the city progress….ahem

By Junior

Best avoided at all times.

By Liver fella

A wildflower meadow would be more appropriate.

By A Cynical

Karney is a disgrace

By Floyd

Putting glitter on a turd…(sorry)

By conway

It’s a terrible location for a grassed area, and the whole area is a confusing architectural mismatch that no one is happy with. Turn it into an elegant paved square like most other cities would have, and build a proper park somewhere else, like Pomona island or Central Retail Park.

By Anonymous

For as long as I can remember, grass has certainly been a big and off-putting problem for picc gardens. Unfortunately it looks like the council are tackling the wrong type!!!

By Mike

As long as Karney and Leese are prominent in the councill; this sort of stupidity will be the norm.
I’m a patriotic Manc but agree with Marcus: Why would you visit Manchester in its current state? We are being outdone by Leeds on every front.

By Acelius

As ever, mostly stupid comments here.

People don’t visit city centre to sit in green spaces. That’s what the park is for. Just pave it over.

As for the City being a disgrace because Piccadilly Gardens is a bit muddy, well that’s just ridiculous. I remember the old gardens, which were a no go area at night. They probably seemed more pleasant in the day time because no-one visited it. The gardens are much busier now, partly due to the improved design, which is why maintenance is much harder.


regarding piccadilly gardens grass why don’t the council just put a fence around the grass high enough so that people will not go out of there way to step over it put a gate in the fence for the men to get through to cut the grass in the summer leave it open for people to lie on if they won’t to the grass that is

By alan born and bread manchester lad

Acelius, Picc Gardens are a mess and the council do seem to have an issue with maintaining public space but Manchester being outdone by Leeds on every front? Come off it.

By Lenny1968