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Public to get say on council’s decision to move Cenotaph to make way for Metrolink

By Amy Senior

The people of Manchester are going to have their say over the city council’s decision to move St Peter’s Square Cenotaph, in a public consultation later this year.

Proposals to move the monument from St Peter’s square were passed by senior councillors last week as the consensus was that the current location is no longer suitable.

However the council’s leader, Sir Richard Lease, has stressed that the plans will be put forward to Manchester’s public to have their say on the matter first.

Sir Richard said: “We absolutely recognise that the location of the cenotaph is an important issue which many people in the city will have views on and no decision will be taken without considerable public consultation.”

The plans coincide with Manchester Metrolink’s ‘Big Bang’ network extension which will partly involve a new city centre line passing through St Peter’s square where the cenotaph currently resides.

The council felt the new tramline combined with negative feedback they received on its existing location was a definite opportunity to improve on its setting.

The most favoured suggestion so far has been to move the cenotaph just around the corner to Peace Gardens opposite the town hall.

Sir Richard has described this area as “a better location better suited to quiet contemplation and with fewer space constraints for remembrance events.”

The new tramline replacing the cenotaph will be a city centre only line beginning at Victoria station and terminating at Manchester Central.

Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive have justified the line as a way of accommodating more services in a more flexible way once the expanded routes have been introduced.

Regular commuter Samantha Warwick, 22, said: “I get why they would want to move the cenotaph because people just stand on it, waiting for the tram, dropping cigarettes on it.

But I think a new tramline’s a waste of money.  You could just put more money into putting extra trams on so they’re less packed all the time.”

The second city centre line was originally intended to run through Albert square and Mount street but it was believed this would create too much of an island around the Midland Hotel.

Instead the route will run up Cross Street and Princess Street before turning into St Peter’s Square.

A date has not been yet set for a public meeting over the relocation of the 87-year-old monument but there are indications that the council will hold it this summer.

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