LDA can't wait to get going. Credit: via MCC

Piccadilly Gardens design competition launches

Manchester City Council is looking for urban design and landscape teams to transform the 10-acre site.

The council’s competition officially began today after being announced in July. New details on the project have been unveiled for the international competition, which has a deadline of 10 January 2022 for expressions of interest.

Designs for Piccadilly Gardens should also include Mosley Street and Parker Street, as well as the sections of Portland Street and Piccadilly that border the Gardens.

The successful design will retain the tramlines, infrastructure and existing Pavilion structure. It will also have to incorporate the listed monuments and statues currently on the site. The designs should have an estimated construction budget of approximately £25m.

Manchester City Council said the designs should show the Gardens as a “special place with a strong sense of identity, welcoming and uniquely Mancunian”. The council wants the space to be capable of hosting events and being a good area for children to play. Accessibility and inclusivity are key elements the council will be looking for in the submitted designs.

The council is also looking for a design that encourages biodiversity in the area and has the potential to improve air quality, and so wants the Gardens to continue in its role as a green space in the city centre.

Safety will also have to be considered when crafting designs. The council said it was “essential that the design promotes safety and is well lit with clear sightlines”.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Our clear ambition is for the Piccadilly area to be an outstanding public open space – a place that people are talking about for all the right reasons.

“It has huge potential to be a welcoming, flexible space which makes a positive contribution to the life of Manchester.”

Those looking to enter the Piccadilly Gardens design competition can find out more at the council’s procurement portal. Expressions of interest are due by 10 January 2022. Shortlisted candidates will be notified in early 2022 and asked to produce concept design proposals.

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Spice it up !!!!

By Anonymous

It’s already uniquely Mancunian.

By Dan

I want to know what happend to LDA Design – who were supposed to be working up proposals over a year ago. How much time and money was wasted there? No doubt we’ll never know as this is Britain’s most opaque council.

Oh and keeping the messy tram lines in their current alignment, and the pavillion, both mean that the chance to create “an outstanding public open space” have already been scuppered before spades are even in the ground.

By Anonymous

Landscape London road from Piccadilly Garden and let it join Mayfield as one large open space.

By Elephant

Laudable intentions. They’ve had so many go’s at this over the years one day they may even get it right. One word however. MAINTENANCE! You have to spend money to keep whatever you’ve done looking good. Fines for littering and plenty of bins. removal of graffiti should it appear, visible police presence and yes all of this has to be paid for. Use some of that creativity Manchester is famed for . And before you go Sir Richard ..Market St too. I’m sure you know what I mean.

By Anonymous

The last transformation in the 90s promised a world class design and nothing short of a disaster. What is the Council doing to ensure that this reworking does not fall into the same unmaintainable trap.

By Andrew Burns

There’s no chance of this being decent unless they moved the tramlines underground in the city centre.

By Anonymous

For god’s sake, just get on with it! All people want is a well maintained/managed and policed space! Whatever (sub-standard no doubt) design you decide to implement will need this in order to make it work. The only way air quality will improve is if you divert all buses away from the area, which you can’t until you permanently relocate the bus station.
Surely by now, you’ve realised by that you could spend £2 million or £100 million on this area and it will not make any difference whatsoever if you don’t police the people using the space properly.

By Steve

Trusted partners……watch this space……

By anonymous

It’s patently obvious what it will look like.

With the critical drivers being safety and security, i.e. open and well lit, it will likely be very flat and plain with some expensive pieces of street furniture and sculptures to break up the expansiveness. Tall lighting columns and luminaires will glare down like interrogation lamps. Some arrangements of flat grass and planting will break up the monotony.

I’ll wager a £100 that it looks like the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin in the 1980s.

By Hop-Scotch

The very worst but by a significant margin is the bus loop outside Morrison’s. It’s so intrusive and marks a really unpleasant concentration of vehicle hazards, clutter, noise, pollution, massive footfall and sheer ugliness.

By Morris

Prepare for the Strand Mark 2. Years of pain ahead.

By Geoff

As council tax is going up for hard working people of Manchester, I don’t think spending this amount of money on yes a good project but not at this present moment,a wrong time to start this.

By Elaine Skelton arathoon

A major problem in moving forward is the design brief; it tries to achieve too many objectives, many of which don’t sit well together. For example hosting events and retaining green space i.e. grass.

By By Jim

I think something similar to St Peters Square, floor, lights, benches, but more nature included too. Trees etc incorporated.

By James

Put it back as it used to be with nice gardens
So people can sit and admire them

By Alex Heap

@Elaine. Council Tax goes up every year and the hard working people of Manchester deserve somewhere decent to get some respite from work. Thousands of people have complained about the current situation. If not now, when would be a good time?

By Allotmentlad2

Finally the council are doing what they should have done 10 years ago!

By David

What about the Berlin Wall is that eye sore coming down?
What about the drug dealers ? How about just build a police station on-site that will stop them

By Anonymous

This council made a mess when they stuck buildings on the square. It should have been an open space in the European style. Will the new design stop the drug dealers and beggars gathering? Not managed so far so will be another waste of money.

By Moira

I think GM would be best served by a Sarlacc Pit in this area.


Jesus wept – how many times have we heard about these design competitions? It’s like deja vu.

By Realist

Anything that keeps half of the space as a bus station, tram lines and that bloody concrete pavillion is just going to feel exactly the same as the current gardens. The entire square between the 4 streets needs to be totally rethought, and this planned rejig is just another delay to that happening.

By Anonymous

They need to get rid of those red retail/office units, the rest of the Berlin wall, move the tram underground and relocate the bus station to the forthcoming upgraded Piccadilly rail station.

Even if they just planted a few trees after it, this would be a much better solution as it’s a mess of too many things now. I know there’s ownership/legal issues, but otherwise it’s another a waste of time and money.

By Anonymous

From one very successful square the other day (Albert) to this. The complexity of the Piccadilly Garden area means an awful lot more than £25m will be needed if we are to see a meaningful difference.

By Anonymous

A waste of time, effort and money. Leave it as it is.

By Anonymous

We need more trees around the area it really adds to a city, let’s look at london

By Anonymous

We need more beautiful lights around the area and cool LED displays. We also need building improvements and flowers and colour as everything looks depressing some days

By Anonymous

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