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What should be done with Piccadilly Gardens – according to you

We've compiled the best letters from readers on what should be done with Piccadilly Gardens, as the council look to make a series of improvements to the area.
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The letters from readers, expressing their fond memories and passionate concerns, shed light on the current state of Piccadilly Gardens and offer innovative ideas for its transformation.

Once a beloved space in the heart of Manchester, Piccadilly Gardens has unfortunately lost its allure and become a matter of concern for residents and visitors alike.

We’ve put together your best letters to create a conversation about what should be done with Piccadilly Gardens.

Redeveloping Piccadilly Gardens

A return to Piccadilly ‘Gardens’?

Anything would be an improvement

As a child, teen, and adult, I cherished Piccadilly Gardens on sunny days.

My friends and I would either catch a bus from Newton Heath or sometimes stroll along parts of the Rochdale canal as far as we could during the late seventies and early eighties.

We would sit back, relax, and simply watch the world go by, making sure to contribute change to the Red Mine, and, if necessary, using the underground restroom near the Queen Victoria statue.

Sadly, I left Manchester in the late nineties and haven’t returned to Piccadilly Gardens during visits to see my family, as I’ve constantly heard how it has deteriorated and become a no-go area.

This is particularly disgraceful for a city that was once the cotton capital of the world and home to the only two football teams to achieve the treble, a feat that the prestigious teams in the south only dream of.

Manchester should be able to do something about the area and transform it into a place for the city’s future, especially during these challenging times.

Considering the recent opening of a new public park, it would be beneficial for city leaders to explore ideas from other cities around the world, whether they involve modernist design or not.

Anything would be an improvement for Manchester compared to the current state of the area.

Anonymous, former Manchester Resident

More green spaces needed

More green spaces means a healthier environment

I have just finished reading Ed Glinert’s excellent piece about the history of Piccadilly Gardens and the unfortunate state it finds itself in now, as described in ‘I Love Manchester‘.

I am aware that Manchester City Council intends to present redesign plans for public consultation later this year. However, I would like to offer a suggestion.

Earthwatch Europe has some innovative and interesting ideas for tree planting, specifically advocating for miniature forests the size of tennis courts in urban areas.

Dr. Akira Miyawaki is the individual who has championed this concept, and I strongly recommend considering Piccadilly Gardens as a perfect location for such a project.

We all recognise the value of trees and green spaces, which provide habitats for wildlife, places for relaxation and contemplation, and contribute to a healthier environment.

Implementing this idea could create a much-needed green space within the Piccadilly Gardens area.

I kindly request that you pass on my comments to the relevant department involved.

Regardless of the final decision, it is crucial to improve upon the current state, as Piccadilly Gardens serves as a prominent part of our great city and should not remain a huge blot on Manchester’s landscape.

Prudence Ramsden, Hyde 

Knock down the Berlin Wall in Piccadilly Gardens

Knock down that wall!

I have lived in Manchester, all my life. I remember going to Piccadilly Gardens as a child, it was green, flowering and I distinctly remember, being taken to the fairgrounds.

I think what’s disappointing about Piccadilly Gardens at the moment is the concrete wall.

It almost feels like the Berlin Wall a division, an eye saw.

I understand division is needed from the Metrolink to separate the Metrolink noise and bustling transport links from the green space in the garden.

However, there are so many creative and more pretty ways of doing this.

Walk down to King Street for instance to see how they separate eateries from the shopping street using artificial green spaces.

I think getting rid of the big concrete wall will create a sense of openness and invite people to the garden.

Also, more green space around the walking area of the tramlines would also be nice. Furthermore, an opportunity to educate the people of Manchester on the importance of green spaces, insects and inner-city wildlife.

While flowering seasonally is a lovely place to look at.

Emma, Manchester 

We need to engage the youth

Engage the youth and showcase their talent

I’m James and I just thought I would take the time to express my thoughts on the redesign of the gardens in Manchester.

I think as we both may know, the gardens as they currently stand are rather dismal, drab, and lacking ambition and it is instead an eyesore.

I do however like the idea of two birds and one stone, in this case, maybe three or four, let me get to the point.

Now, wasn’t the outside food and drink stalls a good hit?

Didn’t they also generate more revenue for the city also as a result, not only that but it did also create a very vibrant aesthetic and provide us all with little sing song and a dance, outdoor therapy and refreshments?

What if that was incorporated into the gardens but the staging scenario that was also there also engaged the youth somehow, showcasing up-and-coming talents in the area and also providing a place which deters the youth from a life of crime and into a more beneficial fulfilling and loving space, if it was made possible for all youth centres up and down Manchester, not to mention schools and colleges to also add drama curriculum, acting, singing, dancing and having that space to showcase that talent and possibly unlock further potential and lucrative opportunities for the youth of tomorrow?

Whilst planning those things for the youth, maybe also new and emerging bands and singers, MCs and poets could also showcase their talents and book the stage, essentially creating an almost year-round events hub, with the on-site refreshment stalls and seating arrangements providing food and drink and a place to idly relax and enjoy the city, come rain or shine.

So essentially my idea is that it becomes a full-time amusement attraction, great for residents of the city, great for tourism, it showcases who we are as a city, generates revenue for our city, provides entertainment for our city, food, drinks, laughter and all-round Happy times.

James, Manchester

Thank you to everyone who responded – if you’d like to get involved in the conversation email [email protected]

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