The wall in Piccadilly Gardens is FINALLY being knocked down – or part of it is, at least.
Plans to improve the Gardens have been ongoing for years, with funding issues being cited as the main reason for stalls so far.
But now, six years after Manchester residents first celebrated the news that its much-hated ‘Berlin wall’ in Piccadilly Gardens was to be demolished, it seems the wall’s demolition is now going ahead.
The Council’s Executive will be asked to approve almost £2m towards improvements of Piccadilly Gardens next week.
This will be used to fund a number of changes to the Gardens appearance – with the partial demolition of the concrete wall at the top of the list.
The section that will be going is the free-standing part of the wall, which currently separates the bus station from the Gardens.
The rest, however, is staying for now due to its being leased by Cafe Nero and Tampopo.
This section, arguably the grimmest bit of them all, is privately owned by pension fund Legal & General. However, it’s understood this section too could be destined for demolition in the future.
As well as funding the partial demolition of the wall, the initial £1.8m will also cover costs associated with the development of the scheme such as concept design, surveys and other preparatory work.
It will also be used to help interact with residents and gauge their feedback on outline plans.
And the capital funding due to be signed off next week is just the start, with the budget for the resulting scheme expected to be considerably higher once finalised.
Council bosses plan to work with principal property owners to develop a joint fund, as well as providing a significant further council contribution themselves in the future.
Future plans will take in a wide area including the section of Piccadilly to the north of the Piccadilly Gardens, Parker Street to the south and Mosley Street to the west.
“This is a key step in the transformation of Piccadilly Gardens. We have been listening to people’s views about the area and we are determined, working with principal landlords, businesses, residents and property owners in the nearby area, to support changes to make it a thriving and welcoming place,” said Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council.
“We know we have got to start investing in the area now to deliver a space which meets the aspirations of Manchester people. The fact that we are planning to commit so much funding to the first phase of the scheme alone hopefully underlines the extent of our commitment.”