“Stevenson Square shambles”: new anti-terrorist blocks branded an eye-sore

The long-awaited changes to Stevenson Square have been completed, however people are confused about the purpose of the colourful blocks that came with them.

The new colourful HVM (hostile vehicle mitigation) blocks have had a lot of negative feedback both online and in-person already since their instillation.

Some of the reasons behind this have been how different the square looks to what was originally advertised in plans.

The safety measures have been viewed as ‘chaotic’ as people believe they pose a risk for cyclists and visually impaired people.

It was confirmed in the summer that the square would undergo work lasting until the end of the year in efforts to encourage more walking and cycling.

Scott Robinson, current Chair of Manchester Green Party raised this issue in his newsletter for the Piccadilly area, calling the new area “Stevenson Square shambles” and “disappointing”.

“I was very excited to see the plans for Stevenson Square – but seeing them in action, seeing them nearly finished or finished just makes me think that we could’ve had so much better.”

Scott Robinson, Chair of Green Party

When asked about if people have responded to the newsletter with an opinion on the square, Scott said; “I’ve got at least one friend that said they never usually bother speaking to the council or the councillors but will be requesting a meeting”

He added: “Other people I’ve spoken to, and certainly in response to my newsletter, have agreed and don’t understand why it’s so bad.”

The main issues Scott flagged up was about the colourful blocks.

He said; “I don’t know why those big blocks have been placed next to the cycle lane inside the square.”

Scott believes the blocks are “going to cause more conflict for cyclists trying to use it as intended.”

Cyclists are outraged over the strangely placed HVM blocks /Photo Credit: Anna Klekot

Cycle-friendly Northern Quarter

At the start of the year, the council has announced its new strategy of putting walking and cycling at the forefront of their transport policy in its efforts to make Manchester a zero-carbon city.

With this, new traffic signals have also been installed to make the square more cycle friendly alongside the new cycle lane. The cycle lane runs through Lever Street, connecting both sides of the square together.

New traffic light system has been installed on Lever Street connecting the two parts of the square together for cyclists. / Photo Credit: Anna Klekot

For now it appears that the works have been completed. However, people are curious to see how the outdoor seating in the spring will cooperate with the mass amount of concrete blocks which have been scattered around.

Additional planting around the square is also still awaiting to happen.

Scott Robinson stated: “Having just an empty public square with no growth or no plants contributes to urban heating. More trees where we can place them is really important.”

The city council was approached for a comment.