Council abandons Peterloo Memorial disabled access redesign promise

Manchester City Council has abandoned its promise to redesign the much-criticised Peterloo Memorial after spending two years looking for a way to provide disabled access.

The £1m memorial was quietly unveiled behind the Manchester Central complex in August 2019 – three days before the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo massacre – after protests from disabled rights groups.

Planners originally envisaged the interactive memorial doubling as a speakers’ corner, but critics said it excluded wheelchair users and showed the council’s disregard for disabled people.

The council promised to alter Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller’s design, and spent two years working with campaigners to find a solution.

But today it said various proposals for ramps and lifts were not feasible and the memorial would stay as it is.

Deputy council leader Councillor Luthfur Rahman said: “It’s a matter of regret that despite working together over almost two years we haven’t been able to come up with a viable solution to make the Peterloo Memorial fully accessible.

“If we could go back and start right at the beginning again, we would do things differently. But we can’t. All we can do is learn from this experience.”

The Peterloo massacre took place on 16 August 1819 when cavalry charged protesters in St Peter’s Field, killing 11 and injuring 400.

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