By Rebecca Rommen
Manchester City Council is set to invest a huge sum into the local city centre, with £25 Million the figure being discussed.
Piccadilly Gardens was last redeveloped by Japanese architect Tadao Andao in 2002. While it had previously been an ornamental sunken garden, it was levelled out with a concrete pavilion during Andao’s reconfiguration.
The gardens have been described as an “eyesore” by Mancunions, and the upcoming makeover has been long anticipated.
In 2020, a concrete wall was demolished following a 2014 campaign by the Manchester Evening News after ¾ of its readers expressed their disapproval of it.
Another concrete monolith remains in place – the pavilion housing a Caffe Nero. The first phase of the redevelopment has been announced, and its design aims to revamp the pavilion.
Dr Tim Pascoe is a Director at the Institute of Community Safety. When shown the plans for the upgraded pavilion, he said: “The lighting is aesthetic, but I don’t think it’s particularly good at – if you pardon the pun – lighting the place up.”
Dr Taki Sonbli, the Urban Design Technical Lead at the University of Manchester, does not believe the design addresses the root problem of the wall. According to him, the wall’s purpose is to create a barrier between the bus stops and the gardens to obstruct traffic noise. Sonbli alleges that the wall is interfering with surveillance.
Further plans and investments are to be announced.