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‘Uniquely Mancunian’ redesign of Piccadilly Gardens to make it a ‘world class’ space

One of the city's iconic landmarks, Piccadilly Gardens is due a lick of paint.

It is one of the city’s most well-known and iconic landmarks.

The gardens are situated at the junction of Market Street, Piccadilly, Portland Street, and other major roads, making it a central hub for locals and visitors alike.

Piccadilly Gardens underwent a major redevelopment in the early 2000s, transforming the area into a modern and bustling space with green lawns, flower beds, and fountains.

It was intended to be a beautiful meeting place and a space for various events and activities.

Piccadilly Gardens in 1979

However, there have been mixed opinions about the redevelopment of Piccadilly Gardens.

While some people appreciated the efforts to modernise the area and create a more attractive public space, others expressed disappointment and criticism over certain aspects of the redevelopment.

Let’s face it, Piccadilly Gardens in its past iterations has been a beautiful place. But today, it could certainly use a bit of work.

Even L.S Lowry captured the splendour of the area in a painting in 1954, showcasing how lovely it used to be.

Since it’s redevelopment, there have been complaints about the lack of greenery, and despite it being a useful transport hub, the area is awash with the Metrolink, buses and other cars too.

The heavy traffic hardly makes it a place for rest and relaxation.

However, Manchester City Council are hoping to change this with ambitious new plans.

The Redevelopment of Piccadilly Gardens

A design team has been appointed to develop plans that aim to transform Piccadilly Gardens into a world-class public space.

The team, led by LDA Design, was selected from a pool of four shortlisted candidates in an international design competition based on their impressive initial concept designs for the prominent city centre area.

They will now embark on producing detailed designs to facilitate a full planning application scheduled for submission next year.

Resident’s ideas needed for redevelopment

The competition panel praised LDA Design’s submission for embracing and fulfilling the design brief, particularly highlighting elements like improved children’s play facilities and enhanced connections to London Road.

Encompassing a 10-acre site, including Mosley Street, Parker Street, the section of Portland Street that runs alongside Piccadilly Gardens, and the adjoining section of Piccadilly, the location plays a unique role as a major route through the city centre, a transportation interchange, a space for markets and events, a meeting place, and a green sanctuary for relaxation.

A New Design for Piccadilly Gardens?

L.S Lowry’s painting of Piccadilly Gardens

The design brief envisions Piccadilly Gardens as a special place with a distinctive identity, welcoming and uniquely Mancunian, with a focus on flexibility and inclusivity.

The space will cater to everyone’s needs, providing ample opportunities for children to play, and ensuring full accessibility for all.

Acknowledging the importance of retaining a green space in the heart of the city, the design will prioritise

Discover Manchester City Council’s ambitious plans to transform Piccadilly Gardens into a vibrant, green, and inclusive public space.

to promote biodiversity and improve air quality, aligning with the Council’s broader environmental objectives. It will be meticulously planned to accommodate the daily flow of tens of thousands of people while maintaining a balance between greenery and functionality.

Safety in Piccadilly Gardens

The Gardens in 1953

Safety and illumination are paramount considerations in the design process, with clear sight-lines and well-lit areas being integral components of the plan.

The project aims to preserve the existing listed monuments, statues, tramlines, and infrastructure, along with the existing Pavilion structure.

Manchester City Council Leader Bev Craig

Councillor Bev Craig, Council Leader, stated, “We know that people have strong views about Piccadilly Gardens, and serious work is continuing to realize its potential as an outstanding, welcoming public space – somewhere people want to linger and enjoy, not just pass through.

“There’s still much more work to do, and today is not about us announcing the plan but appointing the experts who will help produce one, taking the views of Mancunians very much into account.”

Mark Graham, Manchester Studio Lead at LDA Design, expressed excitement about the project, saying, “We are thrilled to be selected for such an important project in Manchester’s transformation. Our team uses Piccadilly Gardens every day, so we take great pride in now having a role in creating a positive future for the space.

The City deserves a beautiful public space

“The city deserves a beautiful public space that showcases all that is great about Manchester and brings the city together.

“We want the Gardens to feel strongly Mancunian, in a very special way that delivers a lasting legacy for the city. We can’t wait to work with the community to shape our ideas and hear what people think.”

The plans for Piccadilly Gardens aim to create a vibrant, inclusive, and distinctive space that will become a source of pride for the city, reflecting the aspirations and desires of its residents.

The forthcoming public consultation will provide a valuable opportunity for Manchester’s community to play an active role in shaping the future of this iconic urban hub.

So come on, what do you think? How can we improve the area?

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