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Square bashing - Westminster Cathedral and St Peter's Square, Manchester

Dude, where’s my square? Back in January, two competitions were launched to design significant public realm projects in London and Manchester. Westminster Council wanted a design team to revamp the ‘piazza’ in front of Westminster Cathedral, while Manchester City Council sought a mastermind to oversee the revamp of St Peter’s Square next to its soon-to-be-overhauled town hall extension and library.

In July, Manchester told three teams they had been shortlisted for the job and a month later Westminster did the same, secretly telling five outfits they were in the running for its project. But, despite some public consultation, nothing has been seen of the schemes and no winners named. Manchester is claiming ‘technical considerations relating to Metrolink’s second city crossing’ has scuppered its timescales.

However, in the capital, rumours abound that funding issues may have torpedoed the Westminster project – at least temporarily. A decision is now expected to be made in the new year. Astragal has poured a long drink to await the news…

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