Council leader Sir Richard Leese has described Piccadilly as a part of Manchester that generates “strong opinions”.
There’s no doubt about that.
The tattered bullseye of Manchester fell on hard times many years ago and has stirred intense emotional responses in residents ever since.
The area’s chequered history and dangerous reputation are unbefitting of its privileged position as the gateway to the city centre; with the Gardens in particular being plagued with all manner of problems from petty crime to assault.
But things may finally be about to change; for real this time.
There has been much talk and very little walk surrounding the transformation of Piccadilly so far. But a significant step was taken in late 2020 when construction workers walloped a huge chunk of concrete out of the vilified ‘Berlin Wall‘.
Now, it seems Manchester City Council is keen to keep the ball rolling (and perhaps swinging) – with more development on the way.
This week, council members opened the floor to the public – starting a big conversation about Piccadilly which will help shape design proposals for its future.
For the next eight weeks, Manchester residents can have their own say; being invited to share their experiences of – and aspirations for – the areas of Piccadilly Gardens, Piccadilly, Mosley Street, Parker Street and Market Street.
Working with landscape architects LDA, the council is looking at different functions – including Piccadilly’s purpose as a route through the city, an interchange for tram and bus passengers, a retail landscape, and an events space.
Through public feedback, the council is hoping to understand the opportunities, challenges and limitations involved in the area, aiming to find a way to “design out” crime in the area.
The Leader of Manchester City Council said that he knew the area “could be better“, but wanted to “understand what people want from the space.”
He stated: “By telling us your experience of the Piccadilly area, including Piccadilly Gardens, you will be helping shape its future.”
Leese also revealed that the council’s ambition was to create a ‘modern Piccadilly area’ with a ‘friendly, lively, public space’.
“We don’t want to turn back the clock to a time when there were far fewer people using the city centre,” he added.
“We need to look to the future, not the past. Nor do we have a completely blank canvas – there are things such as tram lines and statues, and the Pavilion building which we do not own, which we have to work around.
“But we can and will be imaginative and seek to deliver a public space set in a vastly improved streetscape.”
The council will also be hosting a virtual exhibition offering insight on the proposed vision for Piccadilly, which will be available to view online.
The ‘Piccadilly Conversation’ survey is open for eight weeks, until March 21.
Rudy’s is opening a new pizzeria and pizza school in the former Dawson’s Music site
A year on from the initial news that Rudy’s would be taking over the old Dawson’s Music site on Portland Street, bosses behind the chain of neighbourhood pizzerias have finally hinted towards the new site’s opening date.
Revealing it is set to open in Manchester city centre this spring, they also shared the news that the new 8,000sqft location will be home, not just to another restaurant, but also to Rudy’s very own pizza school.
Billed as a ‘world-class destination for pizzaiolo talent’, the new pizza academy will take just over half the space – providing a structured training programme to both experienced pizza chefs and novices. It is set to welcome over 100 pizza chefs in this first year.
The restaurant, meanwhile, will span the rest with room for 120 covers. It will be Rudy’s sixth pizza restaurant in Manchester.
The new location at Portland Street will also be the HQ for Rudy’s Bake at Home, back by popular demand.
Serving the perfect and classic Neapolitan pizza since 2015 from its original Rudy’s in Ancoats, the acclaimed pizzeria has since opened 16 sites across the UK, with the new 120-cover pizzeria in Portland Street being its sixth location in Manchester.
Born out of passion for pizza, Rudy’s follows the authentic Neapolitan tradition of pizza making, serving classic recipes such as Marinara, Margherita and Calabrese – all originating from Naples, the birthplace of pizza.
Rudy’s has been praised by many as one of the best pizzerias in the UK, it is renowned for its consistency and quality in Neapolitan pizza making. On a mission to pave the way in pizza making all accordance to a truly authentic Neapolitan technique, Rudy’s is proud to open Rudy’s Pizza Academy at the new Portland Street location.
Jos Goncalves, manager at Rudy’s Portland Street, said: “We are delighted to announce that our next Rudy’s pizzeria will be located on Manchester’s bustling Portland Street.
Manchester has been home to the Rudy’s famiglia since we first opened in Ancoats in 2015, and we can’t wait to open our latest pizzeria, with the addition of our first Pizza Academy in the city this spring”.
Featured image – Rudy’s
Watch as Ed Sheeran debuts new music for the first time ever at ‘intimate’ Manchester gig
Now normally, when an artist chooses to take some brand new material out on tour for the first time, they’ll test the waters with a few intimate shows.
Just recently, we’ve had both Fall Out Boy and Blossoms at Band on the Wall, The 1975 at Gorilla, and Jason Manford in a beer garden.
But for Ed Sheeran, his idea of ‘intimate’ is… the AO Arena. That super cosy 21,000-capacity venue. Ah.
After selling out FOUR nights at the Etihad Stadium last summer, though, the chance to see Ed on stage in an arena again is a novel one, and it sold out the venue in minutes.
The ‘Shape of You’ singer announced this surprise arena tour just weeks before he took to the stage, in support of his upcoming sixth album Subtract.
This mini tour kicked off in Manchester last night – meaning our city got to hear new track ‘Eyes Closed’ live for the first time ever.
You can watch the highlights from Ed Sheeran at the AO Arena in the video below