“This should have been done a decade ago.”
This week, work will begin on removing the ignominious concrete block guarding the gateway to Manchester city centre.
Ten years too late, according to local councillor Pat Karney.
In the days ahead, the ‘Berlin Wall’ in Piccadilly Gardens will finally start to fall, and Mr Karney admitted he “can’t wait” to see it all materialise.
“History in the making,” the councillor called it.
Many share this mindset.
The unsightly 20ft-high grey slab that looms above the Gardens has been an architectural pariah since its assembly nearly two decades ago; with people taking cover under its concrete cloak to engage in antisocial behaviour.
Measuring 393ft-wide, the Berlin Wall has also doubled as a canvas for graffiti – most recently wearing “The north is not a petri dish” message that appeared during Burnham’s Tier Battle.
Initial construction was completed on the Wall back in 2002 ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
But if it was divisive then, it has very few supporters now.
News of the Piccadilly Gardens Wall’s demise is being touted as a triumph in itself – but Manchester City Council have said the demolition works are just the first step in a bigger plan to transform the area.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, explained: “Piccadilly Gardens is a much-used public space with huge potential.
“As the city begins its recovery from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and looks to the future, the regeneration of this prominent space will have a big part to play – hosting appropriate events and encouraging and supporting nearby business activity and job creation.”
Mr Leese also emphasised that improving Piccadilly Gardens and the surrounding area remained a high priority for the council.
“Further ideas are in the pipeline but this demolition will be the first visible sign that change is coming.”