The winners of an international design competition for leading architects to come up with plans to transform St Peter's Square into a world-class space have been announced by Manchester City Council. A design team led by German landscape architect Latz + Partner have been selected to make their vision a reality.
At the heart of the plans for St Peter's Square is the idea of a wide, open urban square which celebrates the architecture of the surrounding buildings.
A high quality 'carpet of paving' will blend the square in with nearby areas while a grove of decorative trees will be planted and positioned to frame views and complement existing trees.
The Cenotaph would be sensitively relocated within the square and the cross marking the historic site of St Peter's Church enhanced by placing it on a plinth equal to the height of the Central Library colonnade.
Meanwhile the relocation of the existing St Peter's Square tram stop to the corner of Princess Street and Mosley Street as part of the proposed Metrolink 2nd City Crossing scheme will open up the square in front of Central Library, enabling views and movement from all directions.
A planning application will be submitted later this summer and will include plans for a Peterloo Memorial, which are still being developed.
Plans for a new landmark to reinvigorate Library Walk are also being integrated with the St Peter's Square plans.
The striking glass and highly-polished stainless steel structure will provide a link between Central Library and the Town Hall Extension, enabling direct access from both sides into the buildings.
A planning application has now been submitted for the new entrance, designed by Ian Simpson Architects, which will also reinstate the quick route between St Peter's Square and Mount Street.
The new ground floor link between the two Grade II*-listed buildings will be mirrored by a newly-created underground link at lower ground floor level.
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "St Peter's Square is an important public space which has not been living up to anything like its full potential.
"But we believe the regenerated square will be a symbol of both the city's heritage and its growing international standing - somewhere Manchester and Mancunians can be proud of.
"It will provide a high quality setting for the Town Hall and Central Library and support other investment in the Civic Quarter, which will be vitally important to the city's growth over the coming years.
"We are already seeing private sector-led new office development at One St Peter's Square and are expecting further planning applications in the months ahead."
Sonja Hlawna, project lead for Latz + Partner said: "We feel honoured to have the task of turning Manchester's vision to create a world-class space into reality. The redesign of St Peter's Square is a crucial step in the Town Hall Complex transformation programme and we are convinced that the future square will constitute an outstanding place in the fabric of the city of Manchester.
"It is our ambition to make the square more generous while respecting the context to unlock its full potential. We look forward to the challenge of creating an inspiring place for its citizens at the heart of Manchester."
The rest of the design team consists of Arup Associates (Transport, Structural and Civil Enginering) and Speirs and Major (Lighting Design).