Manchester City Council has confirmed today that plans submitted to demolish part of the concrete wall in Piccadilly Gardens have now been approved.
Intention to demolish part of the wall was first revealed to the public back in early March.
The council submitted a planning application for the removal of the small, curved section of the wall that it owns and separates the gardens from the bus station on Parker Street last month, and leaders say it will be the first stage in a major overhaul of the city centre’s largest public square.
At present, there has been no date set for when the work will be carried out, but the council’s city centre spokesperson Cllr Pat Karney said he hopes it will be “in the next few weeks”.
He said: “We’ve waited for this for over a decade,”
“It’s a symbol of the renewal of Piccadilly Gardens – it’s the first step but there’s a lot more to come.”
According to the MEN, it’s believed that around £2 million has been allocated for the demolition work – as well as carrying out surveys, design work, and a public consultation on how to improve Piccadilly Gardens – after many years of complaints about crime and anti-social behaviour in the area.
Although the budget for the full revamp has not yet been finalised, it is understood to be in the region of £10 million.
The demolition work to dismantle part of the infamous wall – which has unfortunately become known as a notorious hotspot for drug-dealing, the congregation of large groups to congregate and the scene of violent incidents – is not not anticipated to cause major disruption to the area.
It has however been said that work may affect the adjacent tram stop however.
Officials said that removing the wall will improve “sight lines” in the gardens, which will make it easier for police to monitor the area and discourage criminal behaviour.
Speaking on the initial announcement of demolition plans earlier this year, Sir Richard Leese – Leader of Manchester City Council – said: “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.
“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.”
There has been no further indication as to whether the rest of the wall is to be demolished in due course.
Further information can be found via the Manchester City Council website here.