Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Whither Stevenson Square?

It seems Stevenson Square, that glum, heavily-trafficked bit of urban blight above Lever Street, is getting a makeover. I just stumbled upon this post on Rob Adlard's Blog from way back in December, possibly inspired by this piece in the MEN (in which they misspelled the name of the square. Classic). He writes:

"...the only real potential candidate for a proper square in the Northern Quarter, is to be developed by Argent, the people who brought a little bit of Milton Keynes to Manchester with the No.1 Piccadilly building.

As I’ve already said previously in this blog, they did a great job of encouraging the right kind of local businesses into the building, but its a real low point in terms of appeal and appearance showing that we haven’t really learned any lessons from the 70’s or the Arndale Centre. It really concerns me that the same people are going to be allowed to develop such an important part of our historic and unique Northern Quarter."

And, according to this press relase from architects HKR, it's to be called The Hive, no doubt to be filled with productive little worker bees hopped up on cappucino from the regulation coffee bar on the ground floor.

I didn't realise that Stevie Square was an official "conservation area" - This council site sketches out the planning guidelines, and includes a lot of great historical info. It seems the square once was exactly the kind of public gathering-place that Rob and others are calling for:

For the last three-quarters of the 19th century, the Square was popular with open-air speakers and became a meeting place and starting point for processions. The most notable of these celebrated the opening of the Town Hall in 1877 and was believed to have engaged 50,000 participants.

Rob says he'll keep us posted on the plans. This looks like one to keep your eye on. And what's with that Robot, anyway... what IS that thing? I like it.

1 comment:

ecoaunt said...

"Argent has already successfully regenerated Piccadilly Gardens and hopes to replicate this on the much neglected Stevenson Square site."
Rubbish - the design is hideous - if we are to have a truly sustainable building - lets use sustainble materials and make better use of the space, utilise some of the real design talent in the city instead of another bland bland bland dominating office building.