So the concrete wall in Piccadilly Gardens is to be remodelled. It can’t be removed as it’s built like a nuclear bunker.
I remember the sunken gardens with their concentric rectangular layout, and the Coronation fountain at the centre. It was a cheerful place where shoppers and workers strolled along pathways or sat on benches, enjoying the colour and scent of roses and tulips growing in well tended flowerbeds.
Celebrated on post cards, painted by LS Lowry, used as a backdrop in family photos, including my own, it was a public park as big as one of the London squares, overlooked by classic facades on three sides and the futuristic Piccadilly Plaza on the fourth.
It was a place where greenery co-existed happily with buses. And then trams were brought back, a big step forward, yes, but the lines encroached on the gardens. They were neglected by the council and allowed to become run down. Because they were run down, the council said ‘environmental improvements’ were needed and they gave us what we see today.
Many people are saying an apology is needed. I just wish the old gardens could be brought back, or at least a 21st century reinterpretation of them. There are archive images of Piccadilly Gardens on images.manchester.gov.uk.