Designers have finally been appointed to develop plans that transform Piccadilly Gardens into a “welcoming public space”.
It’s been a long time coming – but Manchester City Council has revealed that a team of designers led by architects LDA Design have now been selected from a shortlist of candidates, and will now be tasked with producing a range of detailed designs and concepts ready for a full planning application to be submitted next year.
The design team has been chosen following an international design competition last year, which was based on initial concept designs that were submitted for the popular city centre space.
As well as Piccadilly Gardens, the 10-acre site covered by the competition also includes Mosley Street, Parker Street, the section of Portland Street which runs alongside Piccadilly Gardens, and the section of Piccadilly which borders the Gardens.
The Council says it envisages Piccadilly Gardens being “a special place with a strong sense of identity” in the future, as well as one that is “welcoming” and “uniquely Mancunian”.
They want it to become a fully-accessible “place for all”.
Retaining a green space in the heart of the city centre was also central to the Council’s design brief, with competition entrants told to consider Manchester‘s wider environmental goals, yet still recognise the need for the area to accommodate the tens of thousands of people that walk through every day.
Potential designers were told to ensure their concepts also retain the existing listed monuments, statues, tramlines, and infrastructure, as well as the existing Pavilion structure.
But what exactly do the winner’s design plans entail? Well, according to the Council, competition judges explained that they felt LDA Design’s entry “embraced” and “met” the design brief to a high standard, and praised the elements that proposed the updating of children’s play facilities and improving links to London Road.
Crucially, the Council says that before any final plans are submitted, these designs will be made public so Mancs have the chance say what they think.
“We know that people have strong views about Piccadilly Gardens,” Leader of Manchester City Council, Bev Craig, admitted as the new designers were appointed, “and serious work is continuing to realise its potential a welcoming public space and somewhere people want to linger and enjoy, not just pass through.
“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.”
Featured Image – Manchester City Council
Sir David Jason set for TV return in Only Fools and Horses documentary Christmas special
In a surprise bit of festive news, the only and only Sir David Jason is returning for an Only Fools and Horses Christmas special this December. Lovely jubbly!
The best-loved and most-watched British comedy of all time will be back on our screens in documentary form this festive season, with Del Boy himself David Jason revisiting the iconic comedy character after 20 years he last played him on screen.
While the legendary sitcom was broadcast on BBC back in the day, the highly-anticipated Only Fools doc will be airing on Channel 5 right before Christmas as a special one-off programme.
Looking back on the show’s incredible run on UK screens over seven series and the several ‘Christmas Cracker’ specials, specifically, the latest Only Fools and Horses documentary will see Jason and a number of other guests appearing to chat about the legendary show.
While it’s still unclear how many of the original cast will be appearing, Jason’s on-screen wife Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel) is confirmed to be appearing along with other special guests including newscaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Bendiorm‘s Sherrie Hewson.
Sadly, a full theatrical reunion just isn’t on the cards following the deaths of Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger), Kenneth MacDonald (Mike the Landlord) and Buster Merryfield (Uncle Albert) in the 30 years since the show ended its run.
Only Fools writer John Sullivan also sadly passed away aged 64 in 2011 and fellow co-star Nicholas Lyndhurst, a.k.a. Rodney Trotter, told Metro: “We can’t. John is no longer with us. John was the driving force of the show and we have also lost quite a few cast members now.
“I don’t think I could do it without them and I certainly couldn’t do it without John. At the risk of depressing everyone, I think the last two times I’ve seen David has been at funerals.”
Simply entitled, ‘The Story Of Only Fools And Horses At Christmas’, the 90-minute special is yet to have its broadcast date fully confirmed but you best keep your eyes peeled on the TV guide — we’ll let you know as soon we do.
Jason, 81, has only just recovered from hip surgery earlier this year, so it’ll be nice to see his familiar grin back on our screens.
Right, we’re off to binge a whole series on UK Gold.
Habas restaurant in Manchester announces shock closure – with huge closing-down discount
Habas, the Middle Eastern restaurant launched by the team behind El Gato Negro, has announced its shock closure.
The subterranean restaurant will be going out with a bang though, promising one last knees-up with a big discount.
Habas will be doing 25% off its entire food and drink menu this New Year’s Eve so that fans of the eatery can raise a glass to the Manchester restaurant.
They’re also hoping that Mancs will raise a glass to new beginnings, teasing a brand new concept.
Habas is located at Brown Street in Manchester city centre and has been serving up its Middle Eastern menu since 2021.
It comes from Mills Hill Developments Limited, the company also responsible for El Gato Negro and Canto, fronted by celebrated chef Simon Shaw.
Habas has stressed that its closure ‘is not forever’ as it announces details of its New Year’s Eve closing down party.
You can ring in the new year with a selection of mezze dishes, sharing platters and small plates, feasting on chicken tagine and traditional tzatziki, all 25% off on Sunday 31 December.
Drinks, too, like the cranberry elderflower martini, blackberry ginger smash and clementine daquiri will be with 25% off.
Simon Shaw, Chef Parton at Mills Hill Developments Limited, said: “As of January 2024, we have made the decision to close the doors of Habas Bar & Restaurant, however we are thrilled to announce that our Brown Street venue has an exciting new concept on the way.
“Throughout December, Habas, will continue serving up the city’s best middle-eastern cuisine, so make sure you pop in and see us. AND on New Year’s Eve, Habas, will be hosting an unforgettable celebration with 25% off food and drinks. We want to rejoice with all of our customers, with one final hurrah!
“We would like to thank all of our guests and reassure Habas fans that this is not the end of Habas Bar & Restaurant forever, simply a farewell from Brown Street for now.
“We look forward to welcoming you to our new exciting concept in Q1 of 2024.”