Barely one month into the new year and Piccadilly Gardens has continued to make the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Manchester’s historic and iconic town square was revamped in 2002 by Japanese architect Tadao Ando. With a cold concrete wall, grass areas, fountains and benches, the square’s design is being criticised as the cause of an increasing number of anti-social behaviour incidents. Alongside the latest knife rampage, the area has attracted drug users and dealers, alcoholics and a plethora of anti-social behaviour incidents. The concrete pavilion, dubbed the “Berlin Wall” by locals, has attracted the most criticism. Providing shelter and cover for the use and trade of drugs, critics have called for its complete demolition.
Recent Incidents in the Piccadilly Gardens Area
10th January 2020 – On the evening of the 10th of January, a fight that took place in front of the Morrison’s store on Piccadilly Gardens caused a huge police response. A police cordon was established, closing traffic from Oldham Street as well as refusing pedestrian access to Piccadilly Gardens.
12th January 2020 – A group of four homeless men are attacked by a knife wielding assailant, whose rampage only came to end after he was tasered by police officers. The police establish a cordon, cutting off Piccadilly Gardens from Market Street.
16th January 2020 – A teenage boy was stabbed during an altercation which witnesses described as a fight. While his injuries were not deemed to be serious, a police response was invoked as the city centre braced itself for disruption.
Piccadilly Gardens Overhaul
As the spate of violence and anti-social behaviour seems to grow unabated, plans for the redevelopment of the area are gathering steam. Aimed at deterring such incidents, design company LDA Design have been summoned to submit draft proposals for the redevelopment. With plans seeking to appropriate a larger open area than the current design allows, the only obstacle that remains is who will provide the funding for the project?