A winner is due to be announced in 2023. Credit: via MCC

Piccadilly Gardens shortlist narrows to four 

Planit-IE, LDA Design, Studio Egret West and West 8 are the four firms still vying to be selected for the complex £25m Manchester job. 

The shortlist for the Piccadilly Gardens job has shrunk by two after Ove Arup and Fira Landscape dropped out of the running, Manchester City Council confirmed.

The list of four companies is expected to be reduced to two in the coming weeks before a winner for the 10-acre project is chosen in 2023. 

Dutch firm West 8 is looking to make its North West debut having led the redesign of Jubilee Gardens in London in 2012.

Planit-IE, LDA Design and Studio Egret West are working on various projects across the region.

Planit recently submitted plans for a park at Peel L&P’s Liverpool Waters, while LDA drew up the conceptual designs that are informing the Piccadilly Gardens competition brief.

Studio Egret West’s North West work includes Manchester’s Mayfield and the redevelopment of Albert Bridge House for Oval Real Estate.

The successful bidder will be responsible for reinventing one of Manchester’s most maligned public spaces and meeting the brief set by the city council to create “a special place with a strong sense of identity, [that is] welcoming and uniquely Mancunian”. 

The project includes not just Piccadilly Gardens itself, but also Mosley Street, Parker Street, part of Portland Street and part of Piccadilly. 

The new-look Piccadilly Gardens aims to promote public safety and retain the existing monuments, statues, tramlines, infrastructure and the Pavilion structure, owned by L&G. 

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£25M on this small piece of land

By Anonymous

£25m? an absolute bargain if whatever they do works.

By Anonymous

Fingers crossed they get it right this time!

By Tom

Unless the police and the council sort out the crime and anti social behaviour associated with Piccadilly Gardens the £25 million investment will be wasted.

By Monty


By Frances Jones

I’ve no doubt it won’t be but the fountain should be retained. When working, it’s the best free entertainment for kids from across the social spectrum. I’m not aware of anything else like it in GM. The current drinking establishments plonked over the top are everything that public space shouldn’t be.

By harpisord

It has already been put out there.I am serious about the old town hall façade in Heaton Park it would look great in Picadilly gardens and save some money .

By Robert Fuller

pointless if One Piccadilly stays.

By Anonymous

25m! Have we not got more pressing needs that 25m could be thrown at?!

By Manc

About time the place is crime ridden and at the moment resembling a container Depot

By Mark

Grey doesn’t work in Manchester so substitute the concrete for red brick as a nod to the industrial past. It’s a no brainer. Terracotta against the grey sky works best in this city and it’s a nod to the architectural past. Keeps the public happy too

By Anonymous

See what the redevelopment brings, but in the meantime this photo deserves an award. Taken from the singular angle that actually makes the space look nice!

By Jeff

Why not return it back to the original park? Or can MCC not admit they committed a crime against public realm when they destroyed the only decent open space, in a city phobic about flowers and colour?

By Elephant

@elephant, because it was a sunken garden with zero consideration for the disables and elderly. Because there is now both a bus station and tramlines taking up a significant area. Because the original layout didn’t respond to the routs people take across the square, you’ll end up with muddy routes going diagonally through the gardens because people cant be bothered following the old lay out. Because it required significant maintenance (cost) due to the number of flower beds and planting, Because it’s 2022 and putting any sort of flowerbeds will result in the flowers being stolen or deliberately trampled by Anti-social issues that plague the area. Because the population of Manchester and footfall through PG has increased significantly and is more of a public square rather than a garden. Need I go on?

By Egg

Strange how people romanticise the sunken gardens. They were only sunken because they were originally foundations for an Infirmary that was demolished. My memory of the gardens is that they were frequented by prostitutes and drug dealers and were a place to avoid after dark. That was the widespread impression of everyone I knew at the time, no one living in Manchester seemed to love the gardens. Case of rose-tinted spectacles I think.

By urbanista

Rather than yet another scheme for this area , grass over and plant trees for a max spend of £500,000 and spend the rest of the money on affordable housing and helping the homes .
This is yet another vanity project .

By Graham Wilson

Let me guess – all designs will just be a sea of Hardscape products, with limited greenery?


@Egg I agree plus the original gardens had become pretty much become a no-go area by the mid/late 80s. The sunken garden effectively shut the gardens off from the city with no active frontages/natural surveillance and I remember always avoiding going through the gardens when walking up from Cross Street towards Picc Station – it felt unsafe, intimidating and hidden. Calls for reinstatement of the original gardens often based on overly saturated pictures of the gardens from the 50s and 60s posted on social media along with a collective amnesia on how the gardens actually ended up back then are wide of the mark. I really hope the new investment/redesigned gardens help overcome the problems with this area of the city that have been going on for decades.

By Anonymous

Open spaces always attract people uninterested in horticulture, even the Royal Parks. I am well aware they cannot replicate the original gardens but as for it turning into a quagmire, what does it look like now, when it rains? If there were flowerbeds, these would soak up the water naturally.

By Elephant

The fountains are hideous. An absolutely hideous feature – that flat oval of black granite, that’s enormous, takes up a huge amount of space and works only sporadically. Even when it does work the majority of the space is barren.

It should be consigned to history along with the impractical lawn area.

By Fountain and grass hater

It’s not the design that’s the problem. It’s the post-scheme management.

By Anonymous

Get the Metrolink underground, get rid of the betting shops and low quality shops, replace the grey wall with a glass building housing two cafés, move the bus terminus and finally replace the buildings between New York Street and Parker Street with twin skyscrapers and escalators up to a raised plaza with bars and restaurants overlooking picadilly gardens. Then, maybe then, Picadilly Gardens will be a proper destination!


I agree with anonymous.

Not normally a Downer Debbie but unless they get rid of One Piccadilly, relocate the bus station and move the met underground it’s going to carry on being a busy mess.

By Anonymous

Relocate the bus station and absorb that space. Then demolish the grotesque Piccadilly Plaza buildings and replace them with something that doesn’t look like a Soviet hospital.

By Tom

There’s nothing like Picadilly Gardens to bring the psychopaths out.
Egg & urbanista are right about the amnesia induced romanticised vison of what it was.
An underground met? Knocking down Picadilly plaza? Absolute nonsense.
The gardens should be paved, and therefore able to cope with footfall and all year round use (not just the Christmas markets, which render it useless for months after), offering some flexibility like most major European cities. Prehaps keep the trees which are pretty successful, and dare I say it-the wall to seperate the bus depot

By Anonymous

with that concrete wall staying then what’s the point ? I’d prefer to bring the arch back from Heaton Park, and get rid of that concrete wall forever.

By Julia

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