Picc Gardens Wall
The remainder of the concrete structure could be turned into a green 'living wall'

Manchester moves to demolish Piccadilly Gardens wall

Dan Whelan

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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Tear down that wall! Ronald Reagan said that.

By James Yates

Could I suggest giving the tagging graffiti artists a chance on this wall a few days before it gets knocked down as am sick of them tagging the rest of the city centre especially near ordsall curve

By Northwich

When Leese says the council will be listening to people’s views, will they listen to those views that suggest radical change such as doing away with the ugly fountain and patches of turf and so tacitly accepting their initial design was flawed? Not holding my breath on that one. Beyond that, unless and until the buses are removed from the main pedestrian thoroughfare outside Morrison’s, the gardens will remain grim, hostile and unpleasant.

By Expectations = low

Demolish that wall

By Anonymous

Yes! Knock it down! But why was it ever approved in the first place? Ditto Exchange Square with the stupid windmill things.

By Philip Turtle

I’ve said it before when I courted a girl from Mossley we caught the Ashton bus at Piccadilly I waited for to finish at Miss selfridge in Lewis’s. While waiting I noticed how truly beautiful Piccadilly gardens were. You mancunians aught to take your city back from the developers and get your aesthetics back

By George

The design of Piccadilly Gardens is not great but it is more about how the area is maintained and policed. The council and police seem to have abandoned the area which has allowed it to be dominated by some undesirable people this also includes Market Street.

By Anonymous

Exchange Square is a really good examples of public open space including the windmills which look great.

By Monty

Let’s keep Richard Leese and Pat Karney far away from the design panel please

By Anonymous

That wall was meant to be…art?!

By BC

And while we’re at it, let’s get rid of the grass as well. Grass doesn’t work on busy squares, let alone busy squares in a city where it rains nearly every day. The council insists on retaining the grass, yet it never works, with the only reason being the name of the square has “gardens” in the title. If there ever was a stupid shoehorn dumber than Arndale’s latest ridiculous escalators, this is it

By EOD

Grass has to go. Any proposal that doesnt get rid of the grass has failed in its attempt to regenerate Piccadilly. We need a space that can be fully utilised, all year round.

By Anonymous

Build one round the city do us all a favour

By Anonymous

Keep councillors and council officers away from any redesign just look at the Red Rock development in Stockport. BDP the architect have designed some great buildings but the mess which is Red Rock smacks of council officer interference a building desinged by committee.

By Anonymous

They should put cycle parking in it’s place :-)

By Disgruntled Goat

Rejoyce at the banishment of this monstrosity! The worst kind of art that doesn’t serve any purpose or amenity to the very citizens that are meant to enjoy it, just terrible. Uninspiring, grey and monotonous, so 20th century. Get a light, bright, leafy, walkable space planned with no grass to ruin and pockets of characterful spaces, it really isn’t difficult.

By Desseisor

St Peter’s Square is nice now, since they got rid of that clump of trees and sunken drug den.
Let’s have a European Civic Square here – paved not grassed. The fences surrounding the mud are more permanent than any of the grass has been.

By Edge

At last! can we have a photo call with images of people stood on top of the wall with pick axe’s and sledge hammers smashing chunks off.

By CBA

With MCC and GMP overseeing things I’m doubtful we will get a positive change. The whole area is a total let down.

Seriously is this the image we want to portray to visitors as they step out of Piccadilly Station? I can’t think of many cities with a greeting like the one Picc Gardens gives us.

By NC

Agree with others about paving over the grass. The picadilly gardens idea is nice but is sadly not feasible anymore. Plus the Christmas markets could be be great in a civic square.

I would also suggest getting rid of the slot machine arcade next to the bus station as it tends to attract and encourage loitering.

By Luke

Someone call Banksy

By Huey

It would be good if they could move the tram underground along Moseley St and turn Moseley St into a linear park of some sort which links Pic Gardens to St Peters Sq.

By L

It shouldn’t cost much to knock it down, I’ll help out for free, I’m sure there would be other volunteers.

What absolute clowns that thought it would be ‘art’ to recreate the Berlin wall. Pretentious fools.

By Thumbs up.

We’ve seen not just in the NQ but also in the Baltic area of Liverpool how murals can change the feel of a place and bring people to it for photographs etc. Take a look at the angel wings and Jurgen Klopp for example. Why should it cost £2m to knock it down when we can get a local artist or group of artists to come and make it interesting. How about a manchester bee as the first mural? Hardly rocket science.

By Spencer

Get rid of the bookies, the arcade, Burger King and McDonald’s, there’s more stabbings here than in any nightclubs / pubs.

By Floyd

Public realm design is complex…all you knockers are quick to criticise.

“…..always taken for granted, used and abused in ways that buildings rarely ever are……the public realm is walked on, sat on and spat on” (Morecambe, 2014).

By North by North-West

This epitomises the arrogance of MCC. They were wrong to destroy the gardens and they were wrong to turn roses and grass into the dump we see today. It is appalling and an utter embarrassment to not only Manchester but Britain We are hopeless at squares in this country unless they are surrounded by houses nobody can afford. I cannot think of one decent square anywhere in this country which everyone can use.

By Elephant

great idea @ By Northwich

By Anon