Long-awaited plans to demolish part of the wall in Piccadilly Gardens have been formally submitted by Manchester council.
The removal of a small curved section of the freestanding wall marks the first step towards the £2 million regeneration of the Gardens and surrounding areas.
Currently the concrete wall separates the nearby bus station from a patch of grass owned by the town hall.
The larger part of the wall leased by Cafe Nero and Tampopo, known as the Pavilion’, is privately owned and will stay for now, though its future remains uncertain.
City leaders want Piccadilly Gardens to become a welcoming space with a ‘strong identity’ where various events can be held throughout the year.
It is also hoped that the removal of secluded areas will deter unwanted gatherings in the Gardens, which is a notorious hotspot for violence, drink and drug abuse.
A report contained within the planning application says: "Piccadilly Gardens has a number of different functions and, as such, has a unique role within the city.
“The emerging design will mark a new step in the history of Piccadilly Gardens and ensure its longevity through a thorough appreciation of the future of Manchester.”
Manchester council leader Sir Richard Leese has said that further investment will be needed to improve ‘the worst part of the area’ which is not the Gardens, but the areas around it.
This includes Parker Street, which he described as a ‘horrible place’, and the area outside the nearby Morrisons.
The submission of the plans has been welcomed by Piccadilly councillor Jon-Connor Lyons, who said: “It’s a positive step to seeing the area change to a more friendly environment, it's been a long time coming.
“I’m still hoping that that the wall, and possible the Pavilion in the future, could be replaced with some vertical greening to improve the look of the area."
Councillor Pat Karney, the council’s city centre spokesperson, added: “This is part of out commitment to Manchester to give the people a place they can be proud of.
“These two walls have blighted Piccadilly Gardens for the last decade and they should have been pulled down years ago.”