Picc Gardens
Improvements to Piccadilly Gardens have been planned for several years

Piccadilly Gardens consultation set for end of year  

Dan Whelan

Manchester City Council said it will ask the public for feedback on three potential designs for the regeneration of Piccadilly Gardens by the end of the year.

The council also confirmed demolition of the free-standing part of Tadao Ando’s concrete wall would begin soon, subject to final sign-off from Transport for Greater Manchester and its own highways department.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Improving Piccadilly Gardens and the surrounding area is a high priority for the council. We will consult the public on these ideas at the end of the year. 

“Concept designs for a more welcoming, family-friendly space with design elements which help deter anti-social behaviour are well advanced.”

The proposals were originally due to be consulted on in spring but the process was delayed due to the impact of Covid-19.

In January, the council appointed Manchester-based landscape architect LDA Design to produce concepts for the long-awaited improvements to the city centre gardens. 

Mark Graham, director of LDA Design, told Place North West the “wheels were turning” on the process and that it had submitted three designs to the council for consideration. 

He added: “Our concept proposals take a fresh approach and respond to the key challenges that Piccadilly Gardens now faces, we are looking forward to gaining feedback and ideas from the public when our work is published for consultation later in the year.”

Speaking to Place North West when LDA was appointed, Graham said the firm would take “a holistic approach” to the anti-social issues, and that its ideas would “retain the character of the place and help it function more successfully”. 

Plans to demolish part of Piccadilly Gardens’ much-maligned concrete wall, built in 2002, were approved by the council last month. 

LDA was the landscape architect behind an earlier proposal from leaseholder LGIM Real Estate to regenerate this prominent area of public realm within Manchester city centre. The £2m overhaul was popular with the public but was not progressed due to challenges around funding.

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The council can spend a small fortune redesigning the gardens but unless the police and the council tackle antisocial behaviour, crime, find accommodation for rough sleepers and deal with the litter it will be a waste of money.

By Anonymous

if there is even one cubic centimetre of grass on the new designs i will be fuming

By livid

Anything which keeps the grass and the pavillion wall will not be good enough IMO. This needs to be a wide open public square with as few obstacles as possible – sort of like Place de la Republique. It’s a high footfall area which should act as a central node for people criss-crossing the city. Its busyness and vibrancy should be celebrated, not chanelled into a small number of awkward pathways as currently.

By Anonymous

Piccadilly Gardens will rise from the ashes once again.

By Liverpool Lacks Romance

First get rid of the Berlin wall, give local people a axe to do it.. We need put more police on the beat 24hours a day patrolling this crime antisocial hotspot. We need to get rid of the bus station and complety grass the whole area, no concrete. This area could be really good.

By Darren born bred.

Where can we see the designs?

Why does everything have to be family friendly? Where do they expect the dealers and the spice zombies to go? Seriously, it will just push the problem somewhere else.

By Norm

Pedestrianise Piccadilly in front of Morrisons, divert the buses around Lever Street and Newton Street – Get rid of the planters on that side too to open up the space.
Pedestrianise Parker Street, remove street clutter, get more restaurants and cafes in the surrounding buildings, create a viewing platform and proper garden in the Piccadilly Place and give the place a proper jet wash quarterly!

By Aaron

Absolute disaster that ugly wall. Should never have taken the gardens out and benches.

By Tre

Improving PG should be top priority, and then the Northern Quarter which is an awful area to be avoided.

By Dan

First thing that needs doing, is to tear up all the grasses areas, and replace with paving. Then remove the benches, hopefully this will deter all the drinkers from lying passed out on the grass. Coming back from my daughters in Cumbria a few weeks back. The so called gardens were an absolute disgrace, drug dealers, pissheads, food lying about everywhere, beggars. It is about time the council, who say they are struggling for money, put their hands in their pockets especially so-called council leaders, who have made tens of thousands of pounds out of all the deals building new student accommodation all over Manchester,. Yet we do not get any new social housing.

By Roy Bennett

It look like there doing the druggies drinkers and homeless a new place to wreck they could no even get control of them people in peak of covid 19 waste of money

By Paulboardman

So long as the plan involves trees, grass,
nature not concrete of which there is far too much in Manchester then the overall plan is irrelevant. Think of Lowry’s painting of the old Gardens which should never been allowed to disappear.

By Ian Smth

About time someone demolished that prison wall ! Please let us have some nice flower beds and benches to sit on..

By Lena Crossan

Who thought that monstrous wall was a good idea,wow it never ceases to shock me what an embarrassment, knock it down,clean up the city centre,it stinks of urine , Piccadilly is disgusting i am ashamed of it i will never take my visitors there, ive not been back since i saws druggie injecting around the side of Debenhams,why cant it be refreshed to to encourage all young and old to visit,surely theres a designer in Manchester that is capable of a new design,or have they also left the country along with all our nhs staff, electronic engineers ect ect ect

By Mrs vincent

Why do we need grass ,its not a park,it encourages shirtless loungers,not a pretty sight,im sick of watching these scanky ,shirtless,drunks with thier children in toe lounging on the grass or benches,spending thier benefits,destroying our Manchester,what do the working hard tax payers get ,not even a decent city centre on a rare day off, no wonder most countries abroad call uk the dustbin of europe.The councils need to stop waste use our money carefully,no more lounge places for idiots.

By Mr vincent

Just read Mr Bennett’s comments,i fully agree scary place at night,drunks ,druggies,homeless ,beggers very poor i would not like to send my child to study in Manchester,id be terrified,CLEAN it up.

By Mrs vincent

Should be put back to how it was the 1960s and prior with lovely gardens and benches Somewhere Mancunians can be proud of instead of disgusting sight it is now

By EOK

Get the Mayor, Andy Burnham to take a 500 meter walk from the town hall to see what’s going on in Piccadilly Gardens, right under his nose. What is he going to do about this place being dominated by drug addicts, drug dealers and alcoholics. Not to mention the young refugees from terrorising people by total disregard of rules of playing football on the grass, and hurting people with children, from the velocity of the power of how the ball is kicked. They are arrogant and have no regard for rules.
Also, let him come and see how the “self distancing” rules are being observed. Its a joke, all he does is blame the government…get your own house in order 1st!!

By David Robinson

Hi Piccadilly garden what can I say your readers have said it all.why does it take such long time for Council to get things done ?? Knock wall down near bus station and other wall open plan garden with lawns and small flowers so it looks good no high bushes seats designed so people can’t sleep on them plenty lighting and cameras make it look friendly and inviting for tourist plenty colour to go with fountain you can’t fetch back old gardens years ago this time give it the X factor invite students to draw designs up for garden

By David barrow

Let’s have the lovely green space back again

By Dave Edge

I love the idea that this area can once become a haven of greenery flowers, paths and seating for people who work in manchester to take their lunch break in, for visitors and commuters to see wild life birds greenery in what is at the moment just another concrete jungle, we wrecked ( at a great cost) what was already there, wasted millions (which could have been spent on social services) just to spend once again putting it right. Let’s hope this time it is the gardens and lungs of manchester once again.

By Anonymous

Sadly the current scheme is a reflection of the peacock parade that created it. It fails on so many levels (the fact the layout had to be changed shortly after opening says it all). It represents the death of concept-led landscape architecture in the UK and should be a red light for any aspiring designer. And that starchitect pavilion is an absolute joke – it was awful on opening. Form should always be guided by function – ignoring this simple timeless premise only ends in failure. As other have highlighted management is key but so is a considered activation design and strategy. I hope the above image doesn’t represent the revamped scheme?! (polishing a turd comes to mind). There are exceptional landscape architects out there, you just need to sniff them out!

By theUrbanArdvark

Just an idea! how about at the primemark end of piccadilly gardens a sandstone archway similar to others citys in london, new york and paris. obviously the latter one not built that big!

It could become a focal point! the mancunian archway! get your picture taken here!

and then around the square sandstone blocks with short fencing with greenary rising up though fencing. bit like that one in dublin city centre!

Then in the middle giant chess boards ,drafts boards and spaces for artists. and a small music canopy.

Plus enough money to fund for a couple of garden inspectors/marshalls to bring abit of respect to the place again!

By Northwich

Manchester is a landlocked city. It is a fact that Manchester has no water or vistas. No grandeur and no room for perspectives. Piccadilly Gardens reflect that. Manchester should concentrate on its industrial past and stop trying to emulate Liverpool. In other words don’t waste any more money on a known druggy area. Build a nice park somewhere else if you want to be like Liverpool so much.

By Liverpool utopia

David Robinson – Picc Gardens has very little to do with Andy Burnham it comes under the city councils remit. Also Greater Manchester Police turn a blind eye to criminality in the area which is unforgivable.

By Anonymous

Manchester has really gone downhill since Burnham started

By Floyd

In all honesty in my 30 years of visiting Piccadilly gardens I’ve not enjoyed it. I have a lapsed of judgement and pop in every 3 years or so only to find I can’t sit there for more than 2 mins. Too many crack fiends and too many criminals. Can’t stand the place and ask Manchester city council not to waste tax payers money.

By Tim

Bring back the GARDENS please!!! and get rid that wall

By David Hughes

Bringing back the old gardens wont change the problems it has today.

By Anonymous

If you didn’t know Manchester and you saw the photo on this page, you’d actually think Piccadilly Gardens was a really nice place. From the photo it looks like somewhere you might spend a few hours with your family on a visit to the city centre.

That’s the problem, although the gardens certainly has problems from a design viewpoint, that is not the main issue. It’s the people who congregate around the gardens and the anti-social behaviour they bring with them that is the issue…no amount of redesigning will resolve that.

By Mancman

Please make the area open, green, and a place where children can play. The city centre has limited outdoor space for children.

By Stuart

It’s the appeal of a nuclear reactor – things can only get better! Please don’t rush into a decision and think carefully.

By Stuart2

Flatten the place and make a big airport. Piccadilly is a DUMP!!! Now.

By Stephen

I wonder who was responsible for accepting the design of the Berlin wall in the centre of our city. What a total waste of our money and do those people still work for the council ! Disgusting

By Glynis Tamin

Keep some green space for everyone’s wellbeing. I remember the gardens as they were when I arrived in 1986.

By Here since 1986

That “Berlin” wall should never have been built. It’s an absolute eyesore. The whole thing should be demolished. It has cheapened the whole of the centre. It should be reinstated as a peaceful garden as it used to be. It is called Piccadilly gardens. That should give the planners a clue

By Sheila gibson

To be fair to the council some recent public space design such as St. Peters Sq, Exchange Sq and Cathedral gardens has been excellent but they continually get Piccadilly Gardens wrong. Like many contributers have said I don’t think any design will work whilst antisocial behaviour and criminality is left unchecked by the police and the council fail to keep the area clean and carryout maintenance. Basic policing and maintenance of the area is way more important than spending yet more money on design.

By Lenny68

What ever they decide it can not be a design we’re people can chill because it will end up the same dump it is now. Better of building on there now the days of having that place as a nice garden place long gone to many homeless smack heads and spice heads round there

By Ste

Very green

And relaxin bringing fresh outdoors to Manchester centre

By Georgina sixsmith

Permanent police box, we have a property facing the gardens and would be happy for council tax in this area to be raised to fund it.

By Julie Brown

@Liverpool utopia

Canals? Reservoirs? Rivers?
The Mersey is a river as well…

By Anonymous

Yeah, a more family friendly place to watch the spice zombies and have your phone snatched out of your hand by a smackhead on a mountain bike.

By BeReetSteve

Piccadilly Gardens has never been a nice place it’s full of drug addicts alcoholics beggers and gangs. No matter how much money you chuck at it the environment is awful I race my young child to get away from the people on spice and the fog of cannabis that pollutes the air. The money needs to go to salford precinct there’s something that needs a new design!!

By Claire

I feel a zip wire over the gardens and finishing by the Cenotaph near the town hall would be the classy thing to do and I’ll be recommending it to Andy Burnham. i think we should be trying to emulate Liverpool and give back the billions spent on hotels ,offices, transport and skyscrapers. We should be striving to be the dormitory town of the east Lancs instead.

By Liverpool romanc

What waste money spend money where it need bulid more house sort people out that on streets for god sake

By Anonymous

Bring back the old gardens get rid of all the buses and trams from the centre should have been put underground any ways as there is part of underground inferstucture built there already and open public tiolets again so people dont have to piss in the streets make Piccadilly inviting again and safe

By Anonymous

Save our green spaces theres hardly enough as is manchester council are just letting builders shove up anything aspeacily in the gardens bring back our old gardens and regenerate the city centre to clean and green get some decent trams that will bring back nostalga to the city centre instead of building office blocks in the centre and making look like a bloody concrete jungle

By Anonymous

The police are liberals and enjoy watching drug addicts be in charge. We have wet millennials wearing a police uniform but no idea what it’s for.

By Richard