Piccadilly Gardens In Manchester, P Manchester City Council
The construction budget for the competition is estimated to be around £25m. Credit: via Manchester City Council

Manchester to launch design competition for Piccadilly Gardens

Julia Hatmaker

The 10-acre site is set for a revamp, with the city council announcing its plans to launch an international contest to transform the space.

Set in the heart of Manchester’s city centre, Piccadilly Gardens includes parts of Mosley Street, New York Street, Parker Street and Portland Street.

LDA Design developed conceptual designs for the site that have informed the council’s design brief for the competition.

“Its prominent gateway location means that [Piccadilly Gardens] serves a unique range of functions including as a major route through the city centre, a transport interchange, a space for markets and events, a meeting place and a green space to spend time,” the city wrote in a release announcing the contest.

The competition has several key criteria for the design:

  • It needs to retain existing listed monuments and statues, tramlines, infrastructure and Pavilion structure
  • Full access and inclusivity should be integral to the design process
  • It must promote safety, be well lit and have clear sightlines
  • It should include planting that encourages biodiversity and improves air quality
  • It must create a space that’s appropriate for all ages, including a place for children to play
  • Parker Street bus services can be relocated and should be if improved alternatives can be found

The construction budget for the competition is estimated to be around £25m.

“The Piccadilly area has the potential to become an outstanding open space in the heart of Manchester, befitting the city’s international status,” said Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council.

“We recognise that it needs to be transformed to ensure that it can realise its potential as a welcoming and flexible space,” he continued. “We want to create a place that people are talking about for all the right reasons.”

The competition is expected to be launched in autumn 2021 and conclude in spring or summer 2023.

Read the official procurement notice.

Your Comments

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At last – and this time MCC have to get it right £25M is a good budget – Birmingham did a good job with Centenary Square which cost £16M so I’m cautiously optimistic that we might finally get a public space we can be proud of.

By Man Man

This is brilliant news but it is unfortunate that the Pavilion remains.

By Robert

I hope they’ve really thought hard about the brief – this will make or break the scheme. Curious that it doesn’t mention the bus loop outside Morrison’s connecting Oldham and Lever Streets , surely the most toxic and unpleasant place in the whole of the city centre. Unless and until this is removed, any scheme here will fail.

Oh and please get rid of that grass and that ridiculous oversized fountain thing.

By Picc Gardens and Arndale hater

£25 million will be wasted without the police and the council addressing the real issues of anti social behaviour and crime which blight Piccadilly Gardens. Yet another design competition is a joke.

By Monty

I know. Buy that office block at the eastern end and knock it down. Then plant lawns and flower beds and put a fountain in the middle. That’s it. Call it Chartist Park. Have I won the 10 pounds prize for creative parkscape design?

By James Yates

Just use whatever proportion of the cash it would take to fund a decent police presence for the next 10 years and they could save themselves a fortune. The gardens are fine when the weather is good and people are out enjoying them. It seems a bit short sighted to spend £25m when there isn’t currently an answer to the bus station issue.

By Allotmentlad2

Could they not green London Road and have a green route from this to Mayfield park?

By Anonymous

That £25m plus to £10m they spent on redeveloping it twenty years ago could quite easily have been spent on maintenance of the original gardens and a police presence to keep people behaving nicely. As others have pointed out, it’s a total waste of money if there is not going to be a budget for maintenance and security moving forward.

By Mancunian

Oh yes, that will definitely work. Like it did all the other times.

By Suprise commenter