A dramatic overhaul of Piccadilly station as an arrival point for the city could include three new public spaces, a revamped entrance, and undercroft retail units, Manchester City Council has said.
With several strategic regeneration frameworks in the area now in place or updated, such as Mayfield, North Campus, Piccadilly Basin and Portugal Street East, the council has moved to update the Manchester Piccadilly strategic regeneration framework from 2014, bringing it up to speed for development in the HS2 and potentially Northern Powerhouse Rail era.
The station recorded 25.8m passengers in 2015/16, a number that is expected to rise to 57.3m by 2043 – but with the volume of residential and commercial development in and around the station, the number of people using its facilities could hit 80m, the council said.
Among the projects outlined are the formation of a “dramatic” boulevard that connects three new public spaces – a civic arrival space on London Road, a public square where Metrolink exits the station and a city park at the eastern end of the station.
A report prepared for the executive said: “The boulevard would be similar to a continental boulevard, contributing to the quality of public realm and life of the area and also, critically, providing a high quality new business address to attract commercial occupiers.”
The boulevard was included in the 2014 framework, but has been adjusted as the proposed HS2 track alignment has shifted. It is intended to better link East Manchester into Piccadilly and the city centre for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport, with general traffic movements restricted to access only.
There will be taxi ranks and bus stops, screened with green buffers and planting, along the boulevard next to the new station entrance.
The SRF proposes a large public plaza with new entrance and forecourt, to “provide an excellent arrival space and first impression of Manchester”.
The boulevard would connect this plaza to the new Medlock Park, a six-acre, south-facing park to the east of the station, which would continue the green space being opened out at Mayfield, and similar to that scheme, include tall buildings on the surrounds.
The third new public space is proposed at the boulevard’s midpoint, with a direct connection into the station concourse. Retail and business space would be situated along the boulevard, beneath the tracks.
Key elements of the station’s proposed transformation include:
- Station entrance – multiple entry points, allowing near side access into the station from all directions; reducing bottle necks; and providing better connections to areas east and south of the station.
- Entrance hall – a new main entrance to increase the scale of the station, allowing passengers to orientate themselves as they enter the station; unifying the HS2 and existing stations; and providing an improved concourse for the existing station.
- Shared concourse facilitating quick and easy transitions between transport modes and allowing adequate space for people to circulate.
- Internal street – between the new HS2/NPR and existing stations, linking with the retail opportunities in the renovated station undercroft
- Retail – bringing the station undercroft into public use for the first time, to provide significant new retail provision where the greatest footfall is anticipated.
- Structure – branching Y-columns are proposed to run the length of the new station, reflecting the structure of the existing station, and giving the station a strong identity.
- Platforms – a roof structure which provides space, volume and light above the HS2 platforms, in line with the existing station.
- Levels – level changes have been minimised to ease access and transitions between transport modes.
The council said it is working to gain greater certainty of HS2 construction phasing and minimise impact of works.
Projects expected to happen before HS2 in the area include Capital & Centric’s Crusader Works, Aecom’s Portugal Street towers scheme, while Store Street, Piccadilly station’s renovation and HS2/NPR extension, The Boulevard, and bus/coach interchange are expected during HS2 construction.
The Piccadilly Boulevard commercial plots and Medlock Park would be expected following the completion of HS2 works.