A public consultation has been launched to harness people’s views on the creation of a permanent memorial to the victims of the Manchester Arena bomb attack of 22 May 2017.
A statement issued by the town hall said that although many of the families who lost loved ones were from outside the city and may also want local memorials, the council had given an undertaking that a permanent memorial will be provided in the city.
It said: “The council is being advised on this by the Memorial Advisory Group, an independent body of civic and business leaders which is leading on communication and consultation with those most directly affected by the attack.”
Families of the 22 people killed and hundreds of others who were directly affected, have already been consulted on the principles underpinning the memorial, or memorials. This includes what the purpose of any memorial should be, what it should mean and what feelings it should evoke.
Feedback so far suggests that the memorial should be a tranquil and contemplative space honouring the victims of the attack in a garden-style setting or other public area.
Now the advisory group wants to give members of the general public the opportunity to share their views on the purpose and meaning of the memorial.
No plans on memorial location, form or specific design will be brought forward until the group has finished gathering views on the principles underpinning them, so members of the public are being asked to restrict any comments to these general principles at this point.
The suicide bombing attack on the Arena in the immediate aftermath of American singer Ariana Grande’s concert left 22 people dead and 139 injured – more than half of them children – and hundreds more with psychological trauma.
It was carried out by 22-year-old Islamic terrorist Salman Abedi with a device packed with shrapnel to maximise death and injury.
The We Love Manchester emergency fund raised more than £21 million for those affected by the atrocity.
Malcolm Press, Chair of the Memorial Advisory Group and Vice Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “Manchester will never forget the terrible events of 22 May 2017. The solidarity and compassion shown in the aftermath of the attack were remarkable and Manchester is determined to ensure a fitting and enduring memorial.
“This necessitates a careful planning process to ensure that we get the memorial right. While the whole city was touched by events, and everyone will have their own personal experience, we know people will understand that the views of those most closely affected by the attack have to be paramount. We have listened to what the families of those who lost loved ones want. “
“Manchester will be the home of the memorial, or memorials, and we want to give the public the opportunity to share their views as well.”
One location speculated several times in relation to a permanent memorial is in a new willow tree-lined Mediaeval Quarter riverside park close to the Cathedral and Chetham’s Library – only a few metres from Victoria station and the Arena itself – proposed in a new masterplan for the area drawn up by Manchester-based architects SimpsonHaugh.
A Memorial Fund was set up last year to hold funds towards memorials for the Manchester Arena attack. Anyone who wants to share their thoughts on what the memorial should evoke should visit surveys.manchester.gov.uk/s/MemorialConsultation by Monday 17th December.