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New grass protection scheme at Piccadilly Gardens

Exclusive: public invited to paper over main open space in the city centre

Published on June 1st 2009.


New grass protection scheme at Piccadilly Gardens

Confidential can reveal a new city measure to stop the sun affecting grass and stonework in Piccadilly Gardens.

These exclusive pictures, sent in by a Manchester Confidential reader, show how visitors to Manchester are being encouraged to leave litter on the grass and over the stonework to protect them on sunny days. In this case, the first really hot weekend of 2009.

A city lawn attendant, Patrick Mower, said: “This is quite common of course. The sun is really very close in astronomical terms, around 93m miles away. It is hotter than even the best central heating systems. If grass or stonework is allowed to be given prolonged unprotected exposure to the sun inevitably there will be consequences – especially in the very long, very hot summers Manchester experiences. The best thing to do is to cover it all up immediately.”

The Sun: remarkably hot

Asked what consequences might come from sun exposure Mr More-litter said: “Just look at the Sahara desert or the sun shattered ruins of Karnak in Egypt would you? That’s why we’ve asked the public to cover the grass and the stone in the Gardens in paper, cans, plastic bags and bottles.”

But what about those beautiful lawns around the Tower of Pisa in Italy, visited by millions, bathed in sunlight and kept pristine and cared for throughout the year? “Ah yes, they’re very sharp those Italians,” came the reply, “they must have magic powers.”

Pisa: magic lawns

An official spokesperson for Glasgow Rangers said: “It is nothing to do with us this time.”

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45 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

James WoodJune 1st 2009.

I asked the Council about this and they said, in effect, yep we knew about it but we were couldn't cope. Puts your jibe into context about Pisa.

little DJune 1st 2009.

That's because, massolina, chavs that are practically still kids are now having their own chav kids and raising them as such. This is merely a visual sign of the steady degradation of this country. It is more obvious now, it spans across the whole of the UK from the 'proles' at the very bottom to the people meant to be ruling and doing right by us all (yet sufficiently screwing us over for their own personal gain) that we are clearly a nation of people solely out for ourselves - 'if I want to drop this litter I will and someone else can deal with it cos I don't WANT to'. Civic pride can be a great thing and is for some reason largely ignored. It might sound idealistic but if people respected their country, it's history and what it provides for them (more freedom and wealth and opportunity than 70% of the rest of the World) they might take the time to look past their own noses further than their giro book and take care of the place. We still need more cleaners and collections though.

Cllr Marc RamsbottomJune 1st 2009.

Many thanks to Manchester Confidential for posting the pics that I sent to them, that were actually taken on Saturday evening by one of my colleagues Cllr Martin Eakins. Manchester claims to be a world class city, yet such basics as cleaning up after people in public squares, it can't seem to get right. I have taken up the issue with Town Hall, and I have to say the response is pretty pathetic. I attach below an extract from the email I received in reply this morning (1 June 09):"Councillor,I have looked at the photographs and I note your comments.Saturday and Sunday evenings are always a very challenging time for us particularly on hot summer days, Christmas time and Easter andalso when any special events are taking place.The level of resource we deploy across the City Centre is far Greater than any other ward and in fact consumes 25% of our total cleaning resource.From June every year we do deploy a small additional resource but this would not have coped with the amount of litter dropped in the area for several hours after the gatherings started to disperse. However it will ease the burden on our night shift who are charged with cleansing areas affected by these type of gatherings, during the night.We are a trading and commercial service and as such cannot deploy large amounts of additional resources without funding being available. We must also consider that cleaning "around" large numbers of stationary people is largely ineffective, very resource heavy and expensive.We are coping everyday with increasing numbers of residents and visitors coming to the City Centre which continues to place a heavy burden on a veryhard working and enthusiastic workforce who are proud of their contribution to the appearance of the City Centre.As always though I am continually looking at our resource deployment and will take your comments as an opportunity to improve cleanliness in the future."What is interesting about this, is that cleaning up the city is now a 'trading activity'. I thought that that;s what we paid our Council Tax for!I am now going to raise the issue further within the Council, so we can make sure this does not occur everytime we get a decent bit of weather. It's a good job we don't have Barcelona's weather.Cllr Marc RamsbottomLiberal Democrat Councillor - City Centre Ward

DaveJune 1st 2009.

Poor management in the council I reckon. They've employed people to clean up, without making sure they are doing the job they're being paid for.

CastlefieldJune 1st 2009.

I remember the old gardens well, they were much better and that's not just being nostalgic. At Christmas the little fair and market were wonderful. I think the problem is you'll never be able to landscape something great there as in essence it's just an island in an open air bus station. My idea would be to make the busses all stop at the outer stations, shudehill, stephenson square etc and make it all pedestrian. Encourage cafes and restaurants to have seating outside (it's much colder in Scandanavia, Czech Rep etc and they do it) and make it commercially sustainable. Won't happen though.

JinkiesJune 1st 2009.

Sorry, I meant can't we just burn all the rubbish.

BenJune 1st 2009.

What bugs me about this the most is that people who drop litter are quite literally effing the future of this planet up the backside by leaving litter. Evidently this doesnt bother them in the slightest so perhaps a group culling would be more than acceptable? It's these people that are the worst kind of litter

In all seriousness though...June 1st 2009.

Thinking about it, I don't think there's many bins there actually. We're being overly-optimistic if we think people will pocket litter to dispose of later. I do, but I'm pretty self-righteous really.

scoteeeJune 1st 2009.

At the bottom of Fountain street there is a sign demonstrating that dropping litter will attract a fine and that council marshalls are out looking for litter louts.I walked back in to work and just one such person was being handed a fine of £80 and a fixed penalty.So the council can do it, they just need to be seen to be more pro-active.Word spreads quickly

PhilJune 1st 2009.

Not to condone in any way needless and selfish litter louts but can our Liberal Democrat Councillors please act with a bit more aplomb in their quest for shameless vote grabbing and refrain from sensationalist hyperbole such as "people wading through rubbish". This isn't the first time I've experienced this approach as an incoherent and VERY poorly spelt email debate i recently had with the Leader of Stockport Council can attest.

graceJune 1st 2009.

and why don't they get people doing community service to pick up rubbish all day long?

MaxJune 1st 2009.

It may be radical... but how about enforcing the law? Get some of the council wardens on the job, the coppers are usually not too far away sitting chatting in their portakabin if folk dont like it!!

AnonymousJune 1st 2009.

The council is so excited about "Traded Services" because it creates pen pushing admin jobs. My job with the council after a recent "restructure" means I now sit at a desk all day instead of doing face to face work with Manchester residents.

Civic Pride?June 1st 2009.

How about some big signs invoking some good 'ole civic pride?

massolinaJune 1st 2009.

Your so right we are becoming a nation of louts ( litter and otherwise ) and sadly these people breed! Kids should be taught from the earliest age not to drop litter and to show respect for the enviroment, their elders, the police, the law,teachers...the list goes on but the situation gets worse. Trouble is that they have no fear of punishment either at home or school .

ckvJune 1st 2009.

Piss up and brewery springs to mind...

AnonymousJune 1st 2009.

Grass is good! We need more of it in city centre. And more playgrounds too (well, we don't currently have any, so even just one will do)! Many cities in the US used to have similar problems with rubbish, but increased patrolling combined with tickets/fines has helped tremendously. We need a total culture change - a few extra bins is not going to do the trick.

JinkiesJune 1st 2009.

Can't we just burn all the scallies or something?

Former Council WorkerJune 1st 2009.

Liam, you're creditting the decision makers with common-sense and actual comprehension of the problem. These under-achievers generally got into their executive role simply due to length of service. Sad - admittedly anecdotal - fact.

Mr NottyJune 1st 2009.

Exactly Max! This is not about bins, it's about having someone on site at peak times to hand out a few enforcement orders. Changing the culture needs sticks as well as carrots (but put them in the bins afterwards).

east lancsJune 1st 2009.

How dare you bring reason and understanding to this debate?!

The Indian from Waynes World 2June 1st 2009.

These pictures bring tears to my eyes :(

AdamJune 1st 2009.

Piccadilly gardens is a disgrace really. The grass is a bad idea. Without any kind of border you are inviting people to walk over it, slob around on it. The whole concept of the space is flawed. It needs total rethink. The only good thing is that the space actually gets used now. Though it obviously gets abused.Fountains aren't playgrounds either.

AdamJune 1st 2009.

Grass is good but not necessarily in the square of the busiest part of a city and especially with no distinct border separating it from the path. playgrounds are also good but not in fountains. ta.

Cheech MarinJune 1st 2009.

Stuart, where does this happen? It'd be easier for me to get stuff up here you see than where I live.

DidsburyGirlJune 1st 2009.

There are several bins just outside of the grassed area (Outside Somerfield, etc) So I don't think we can blame this one on the council - Its just people being Lazy.

DescartesJune 1st 2009.

That said east lancs, has anyone else noticed the litter pickets out walking the costa del piccadilly today? They're picking up rubbish, genius move!

CastlefieldJune 1st 2009.

Had an idea!! Why not stick some posters up (ManCon could do this) advertising 'the next big reality show - Britain's Got Rubbish', tell the public there are secret cameras dotted about and the best rubbish pickers will go through to the national finals at Hyde Park. They'll go for that.

Ali McGowanJune 1st 2009.

So, to the Council: IF THERE ARE MORE CC RESIDENTS THAN EVER, that means MORE council tax revenue = you can afford more bloody litter wardens. The Council, again, provide a totally bollocks excuse. Also - if there were more litter wardens, the cost of them should be more than met by an £80 fine or whatever it is. Unless of course litter wardens in fact earn £80, in which case, Council, I apologise unreservedly for your utter stupidness. Will anyone rid us of these Labour idiots?! :(

east lancsJune 1st 2009.

So basically... some councillors are leading this drive to get it cleaned up/more bins, yet MCC itself is giving the usual BS excuses that us mere mortals have to deal with? MCC itself (not the councillors) repeatedly demonstrates what poor value for money it is. This is "Best Practice"? Deary me...

JennyJune 1st 2009.

Let's not blame chavs because while people should put litter in bins, areas with this number of people should also be policed by litter wardens and so forth. It was clear that this was going to be the case on the weekend, especially since the forecast had been good for ages. Just think what a visitor to Manchester would think? It's horrible.

LiamJune 1st 2009.

What a disgrace... the thing is, the people that are doing this are so dense that they wouldn't understand the irony in this article. That and the fact they cannot comprehend the concept of the bin (of which I confirm there are many in Piccadilly)

M30June 1st 2009.

Isn't "Chav" bashing a bit two years ago? There's as much rubbish left on Chorlton Green by the Dan, Ollie, Piers and Holly types on a summers day as there is in Piccadilly Gardens. Either way, Piccadilly Gardens is such an eyesore anyway that I think a few Lambrnio bottles and Greggs wrappers make it look less like Berlin circa 1987.

BenJune 1st 2009.

Another common method to keep the grass pristine appears to be the act of scattering various assorted scallies across the lawn! With a sea of interlocked people like that - the sun hasn't a chance in hell of destroying the grass!

DigJune 1st 2009.

I think a plain clothes copper or 2 turning up randomly and handing out fines for littering would do the trick. (and obviously nicking anybody up to anything illegal) Even just once or twice a week for an hour would work. The message would soon get across that the man & woman sitting across from you might not be on a social visit to the gardens!

PAULBJune 1st 2009.

Perhaps the litter problem could have something to do with the fact that originally Piccadilly Gardens was just that.A beautiful little park with raised beds full of flowers,a path all the way round and several benches and pleasant grassy areas to sit on and enjoy.That was all destroyed and replaced with the present abomination which to say the least does not inspire any civic pride or consideration.Demeaning an area can lead to debasement in the form of llitter dropping,unsocial behaviour and a general lack of care.

Stuart AdamsonJune 1st 2009.

I work on Piccadilly Gardens, usually until 11 pm. Try spotting a copper or even a plastic cop after 6pm !! Even during the day all they do is sit inside their little pods doing nothing. On an average day I see 10 drug deals go down, at least 20 people on asbos street drinking on the benches and countless shoplifters in and out of the shops, not to mention the countless illegals in the area. If the police and the council weren't such a bunch useless jobsworths, they'd have a field day arresting the scrotes that have taken over the cc.

AnonymousJune 1st 2009.

Colour me crazy if you like, but wouldn't putting a few more bins in Piccadilly Gardens help the situation?

GRACEJune 1st 2009.

i hate litter louts! - lazy idiotsbring back the stocks - we could put them in piccadilly gardens

AnonymousJune 1st 2009.

The proper thing to do about litter etc in the CC is to clear it up. Its not Wardens but cleaners with barrows and brooms and flicker machines. and trucks to take away the bin bags. This happens at 3am-6am every Friday Saturday night. in the City CentreThe major commercial interests are the are grouped into the Piccadilly Partnership. (Check the website)Perhaps they have something to say and a contribution to make.But if it was cleared up the bourgeoisie could not enjoy a moral wallow.

Cllr Martin EakinsJune 1st 2009.

Some people have left comments saying that people should have used the bins.Just to let you know, bins were available, but they were overflowing. Some had the good sense to bag up their litter and put the bags at the foot of the overflowing bins (see pictures 40 and 41 using the link: http://www.second-site.net/pics/citycentremess/) but alas many didn't bother.It was very sad to see so many people wading through rubbish on a glorious Saturday evening in the very centre of Manchester.

ADJune 1st 2009.

Isnt it more of an issue that two councillers have to use Mancon to raise the issue - there has to be something wrong with that!

AdamJune 1st 2009.

Education (or lack of it) is the main culprit. There's no respect either. I'd be surprised if the wardens could actually enforce any littering laws.

LiamJune 1st 2009.

Don't you just love it? Pay your council tax, live in the city centre, live amongst rubbish on your doorstep. I think its unfair... If I said "Council, I will not pay my tax if you don't keep my area clean", I'd be taken to the cleaners! I'm sorry but I've seen cleaner cities in countries that don't pay council tax... how do you explain that???More People = More Council Tax = More Cleaning Budget. Put some of the commission earning Parking Ticket Patrol into Litter Police roles. They'll make some money and people will keep clean.We don't need more bins...We just need them emptied more times in the day. You'd think the government to could put their expense forms down a moment to understand that 2+2=4... Please!

TrevorJune 1st 2009.

Grace, somehow your name doesn't seem to fit your outburst.

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