They’re finally doing something about Piccadilly Gardens

Piccadilly Gardens was once a blooming garden and proud beacon in the centre of Manchester, but these days it’s more synonymous with drugs and anti-social behaviour.

While most people, us included, would love to see the area returned to its former glory, the chances of that happening are pretty slim.

Instead, council bosses have announced they will be temporarily shutting parts of the Gardens while they sort out the grass problem.

Gerald England / Geograph

Part of Piccadilly Gardens is being turfed up to make way for some special ‘hybrid grass’, to withstand the heavy footfall it receives.

The scheme is part of ongoing plans to improve the area, along with a design to help deter anti-social behaviour, improved lighting and more planting.

One of, but by no means the worst, aspect of the Gardens in recent years has been the grassy areas, which are frequently churned into a mud pit.

It’s hoped that this new reinforced hybrid turf - which is used on Premier League pitches - will withstand the wear and tear and provide a cost-effective solution, with a trial starting yesterday on a small area near the fountain which has been fenced off.

Manchester City Council spokesperson for the city centre, Pat Karney, says:

Thousands of people pass through Piccadilly Gardens every day and it becomes a natural focal point for the city centre when the sun comes out. For a hard-working public space, we need a hard-wearing grass that can take such massive footfall, especially when the weather does let us down. Over the years, we have tried a number of grass strains to improve its durability and we hope this trial will prove successful, with a view to extending the area across other parts of Piccadilly Gardens. We are also taking this opportunity to re-sow other areas of grass to improve the space as we welcome the summer months in Manchester.

If successful, the council will look to expand the new turf to other areas of the Gardens, with council bosses saying most of the area will remain open for the next few weeks as the trial begins.

Hopefully this is the beginning of the rebirth of Piccadilly Gardens. I’m not holding my breath though...

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