Manchester City Council

Pearly Gates Jammed

Spent much of yesterday afternoon and all of this morning in session with the rest of the jury trying to pick a winner of the international competition to re-design St. Peters Square.

We started off this morning in the square itself which frankly is a bit of a mess ( from a design perspective that is, it was very clean ) but clearly does have the potential to be a major public space worthy of a leading European city. Obviously many Mancunians share my interest in this as over 700 took the opportunity to look at the proposed designs when they were on exhibition last week, with more than half of those visitors leaving comments.

We're not looking for anything flash. The space is and should be dominated by the group of civic buildings on one side of it, particularly the Library and the Town Hall Extension. The flamboyance of the Midland Hotel is in one corner, and the square needs to provide a dignified setting for the Cenotaph. This is not going to be a big activity space but something altogether quieter and more ceremonial apart from of course at morning and evening rush hour when, although traffic free, it will still be being criss-crossed by thousands of commuters.

Given the significance of the location we want something classic, something that will last, and we want to get it right. On that basis we didn't make a decision today as more work needs to be done. We're not in a hurry and if it takes a couple more months to get it right then that's not a problem. Off now to visit Inspired Sisters in Longsight to look at the work that they are doing. Hope I come back with a little bit of that inspiration.

There are 4 responses to “Pearly Gates Jammed”

  1. Miffed Says:

    700 people showing an interest is not 'many mancunians', its a tiny amount of people, an amount no doubt padded out with counsellors and city council cronies. No one wants you to waste money on this project. Stop chucking our money away!

  2. bicolouredpythonrocksnake Says:

    Hang on a minute, Miffed - this isn't a waste of money per se, though I do wonder about the timing. Restoring the crumbling Central Library and Town Hall Extension (in that order, since the former is open to the public) needs to be the priority, since these are irreplaceable; the square itself can probably wait until our public finances are in better shape.

    What I would consider a waste of money would be another design disaster along the lines of Piccadilly Gardens, which is a civic disgrace. I agree with everything the Leader says about the need to preserve a dignified space for the cenotaph and allow the more spectacular older buildings to stand out. Closing the square to traffic will make a positive difference and hopefully we'll have no more Picadilly Gardens-style concrete walls (I say hopefully because there did appear to be some in the pictures that appeared in the MEN; it really isn't necessary to fill every square inch of public space with clutter).

    I wasn't aware the Leader had links with the psychiatric profession, but I bow to your superior knowledge on that one...

  3. Stephanie Says:

    I agree, let's hope they do not come up with an atrocious and frankly useless look like in Piccadilly!! What is the point of that wall?? Although I do believe it is a waste of public money cos despite not reaching a decision today, no doubt someone is being paid lots for no reason, any delay will only fatten up the bill!

    On another note, this title is not appropriate for this article in my humble opinion, even cos I am sure our mate St Peter shut the gates a long time ago!! Trust me I know these things....

  4. mavis connor Says:

    PLEASE nothing like the sabotage to our once beautiful piccadilly sunken garden.



The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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