As we embark on the next phase of town center regeneration, the multi-storey car park is set to be closed for refurbishment starting Monday 11th March
Your questions answered on the Stretford Masterplan
Following on from our recent public consultation which took place from 6th to 15th October 2023, we received a number of questions regarding the proposed changes that Bruntwood and Trafford Council would like to make to the hybrid planning consent in Stretford town centre.
In light of this, the joint venture (JV) is eager to extend an update to the community, addressing their questions and concerns. In response to the community's feedback that we’ve received online, we have prepared the FAQs below. We hope that this clarifies any uncertainties.
1. What are the proposed changes?
- Reorienting the public park (no reduction to the area of the park is proposed)
- Reducing the height of some residential buildings to the edges of the Stretford Mall site, and increasing the height of some residential buildings in the centre of the Stretford Mall site (no change is proposed to the maximum of 800 residential units already approved, and these will continue to be positioned across the Stretford Mall and Lacy Street sites)
- The retention of Aldi and some surface car parking immediately outside of Aldi
No changes are proposed other than the above. For example, matters such as the approach to car parking, the number of new homes, and the quantum of retail and commercial space, remain as per the approved hybrid planning consent.
The proposed changes have no impact on the ongoing King Street work, which has full planning consent, or the Kingsway works, which are not being delivered as part of Trafford Council and Bruntwood’s JV.
2. What has already been approved and what amendments are Bruntwood and Trafford Council looking to make?
In April 2023, we received the green light for an exciting mixed-use project at Stretford Mall. This project (LPA ref: 103844/HYB/21), involves several aspects: demolishing specific Mall buildings, creating 203.6k sq ft of space for retail, commercial, and leisure activities, and potentially adding up to 800 residential units. It's important to note that this planning consent for 800 homes covers both the Stretford Mall site and the Lacy Street site.
Additionally, we've also received full planning consent (LPA ref: 107588/FUL/22), for the King Street development. This phase includes various activities such as removing the roof structure, enhancing the building's appearance, making alterations to existing buildings like the multi storey car park, and making improvements to the public areas around King Street.
Following the approval for our development plans, Bruntwood and Trafford Council have been working on refining the project. We realised there were areas for improvement, so we conducted a public consultation in October 2023 regarding a Section 73 Planning Application. This section applies when there are proposed changes to an already approved project.
The consultation focused on specific elements of the project: repositioning the park, building heights, and the retention of Aldi.
The consultation met all legal requirements but we understand that we could have been clearer in our communication. We welcome any feedback on how we can enhance our consultation methods for the future.
In response to the public's suggestions, over the next week we'll make the consultation boards and FAQs available in a public space in the Mall for your convenience, so you can review them at a time that suits you. Your input is important to us.
There were a number of comments from residents wanting more engagement from the Council and local Ward Councillors. While we understand that it can be frustrating for the community to not receive direct answers to queries, we have highlighted that town planning includes many moving parts (transport, roads and highways, local council, housing, etc). Although we are in close contact with these departments, we cannot speak on their behalf. Council staff have been very closely involved with Bruntwood in developing the proposals, and discussing these with ward members, but the consultation was staffed by Bruntwood colleagues as they are managing the project. Ward members are always available to be contacted and have responded to issues raised by constituents.
3. Joint venture partnership
Bruntwood and Trafford Council continue to work closely and collaboratively to develop proposals that are informed by local voices and that will deliver positive outcomes for the current and future residents of Stretford.
We want the community to know that the suggested alterations do not lead to an expansion in the overall development or bigger financial gains. Instead, they aim to enhance the design approach by positioning shorter buildings at the site's periphery and taller structures at its core whilst preserving on-site amenities such as Aldi, and reconfiguring the park to establish a more favourable connection with the town centre.
4. Infrastructure and transport
Green travel is a key component of both the Stretford Mall project and the adjacent Kingsway highway improvement works (excluded from the joint venture). These projects are intended to promote walking, cycling and the use of public transport, to positively contribute to the zero carbon agenda. We have created a retail walking circuit through the park, along Chester Road and into King Street to ensure easy access throughout the town centre.
The parking provision for the site remains as approved in the Hybrid Planning Consent. This being; on-site residential car parking provision is based on a study of trends, appetite for sustainable development, similar other developments, and agreement with Trafford Borough Council. The ratios proposed are 1:1 for houses and 1:4 (25%) for apartments. Office parking ratios are based on local policy. Retail/leisure provision is based on extrapolating the parking demand of the existing Stretford Mall site to suit future development. A transport assessment submitted as part of the hybrid application demonstrated there is sufficient capacity within the multi storey car park to more than accommodate these demands, with spare capacity which can be used for increasing the residential or retail parking provision if required.
There is a planning condition to regularly review on-street parking in the surrounding streets, particularly Wellington Street, once the development is occupied. If mitigation is required e.g. a review of the parking permit hours or extents, this will be addressed.
The intention for the redevelopment is to create a mixed use town centre that provides a full range of services and amenities. The units being created will be suitable for healthcare facilities including GP surgeries and dentists, should they wish to take space.
A S106 Education contribution was agreed as part of the approved Hybrid Planning Consent. The payment amount is subject to the number and type of new homes delivered and is up to a maximum of £3.8m.
In 2019, when Bruntwood and Trafford Council acquired Stretford Mall, there was 325k sq ft of commercial floor space. The approved Hybrid Planning Consent reduces this to 203.6k sq ft and this reduction is in light of the fact that there has consistently been approximately 100k sq ft of vacant space, and some retail units are larger than necessary for their respective retailers. No change is proposed to the already approved reduction in retail space.
Since acquiring the Mall, the team has had a flurry of new lettings including Stretford Canteen and Calm Connections alongside a number of renewals to retain the current retailers. In particular, a new Post Master has also recently taken new premises, securing the long term future of the Post Office in Stretford.
We would like to keep those existing retailers who wish to stay and attract new brands in addition. We want Stretford to be a busy town centre with the right amount of shops, workspaces, cafes and line up that offers places, restaurants, community facilities, green spaces and play spaces to serve the needs of local people and visitors.
Our monthly Stretford Socials events have gone from strength to strength and brings the community together. It includes a whole host of community workshops with lots of local charities and fundraising activities taking place, all designed by the local community for the local area.
Works are currently underway for King Street where the vision centres around the mix that we can create in the area, making sure that there’s retail and leisure offerings that work for our whole community and that add to the vibrancy of the town, from independents to national brands. We will build upon Stretford’s unique identity and curate an offering that serves the community's’ day to day needs, but also provides a unique experience by creating a strong point of difference in comparison to the nearby neighbourhoods.
The retail spaces have been designed to be accessible for people with mobility issues and families with prams, as well as being greener to improve well being.
New homes will add people and bring life to the town centre. Individual discussions are ongoing and updates will be provided via the Stretford town centre website and social media channels once relocations and new lettings are confirmed.
The King Street Works are on site and due to complete early 2025. We are providing updates on the timings and key milestones of this project via the Stretford town centre social media channels and websites. These are updated in real time and provide the local community with an accurate view of progress and finishing dates. There are currently no fixed dates for the delivery of the new homes.
8. St Matthews’ Church bells
The approved Hybrid Planning Consent ensures St Matthew’s remains a focal point for the area. The proposed re-orientation of the park will increase the views and connectivity of the Church to the town centre than the currently approved park location in the Hybrid Planning Consent.
The original hybrid application was supported by a robust noise assessment which not only considered the noise impact of the proposed development on existing receptors (existing nearby residential properties) but also assessed the potential noise impacts from background noise on the proposed future residents, and confirmed that the properties would not be subject to any inappropriate noise impacts, in accordance with national standards and local planning policy. The findings of this assessment were supported by the Council’s Environmental Health Officer who carried out an independent review of the report.
In addition it is noted that the bells do not ring during unsociable hours so this is unlikely to be seen as an issue by the Environmental Health Officer whether raised by residents or not.
9. Height of new housing
Updated proposals include residential blocks with a maximum height of 10-12 storeys, but only to some small areas in the centre of the site. The consented scheme permits blocks up to 8 storeys tall across a large area of the site. The proposed increase in height is balanced against reducing the building heights in many of the areas with existing consent for up to 8 storeys. The areas that are proposed to be reduced in height are closer to the edges of the site, reducing impact on existing residents. The following image summarises the proposed changes.
In terms of building design, the images provided are intended to only show scale. The final design of the buildings is yet to be undertaken, and will be subject to detailed planning applications that will require their own consultation. The community will be made aware when these applications are due to come forward and invited to comment on the detailed design proposals.
The mix of types and tenures of housing will be determined at a later stage. However 25% affordable homes have already been committed as part of the approved Hybrid Planning Consent.
10. Green space
The park has been re-orientated to improve connectivity with the town centre. The area of the park remains the same as the approved Hybrid Planning Consent. It is approximately 85m long and 35m wide.
We have carried out an Indicative Direct Daylight Study which shows that the hours of sunlight that will reach the park will exceed the BRE (Building Research Establishment) guidance. More sunlight will reach the park in the proposed new orientation, than the park’s location in the approved Hybrid Planning Consent.
Regarding safety; adequate lighting will be provided throughout the site, natural surveillance will increase as a result of the new homes, and on-site security presence will be increased to 24/7 once King Street reopens.
A detailed landscaping plan is yet to be developed for the residential areas of the Stretford Mall masterplan. Nothing has changed in respect of the numbers of trees associated with the Kingsway or King Street works, overall there will be a net increase in the number of trees.
Aldi serves the local community and helps reduce the need to travel for current and future residents. Furthermore it brings people into the town centre, which will contribute to Stretford being a successful town, the retention of Aldi is therefore considered a positive for the town centre.
People tend to favour convenience, so having to take a shopping trolley into a lift might dissuade many individuals from choosing Stretford as their preferred destination for larger shopping trips, regardless of the lift's proximity to Aldi. On the other hand, for smaller shopping excursions, a direct pedestrian path from Aldi to the new King Street and a newly installed pedestrian crossing on Kingsway will ensure that Aldi remains well-connected to the surrounding residential and shopping districts.
The re-orientation of the park has aided the creation of a new neighbourhood square to connect the public realm across Stretford Town Centre. The new square is larger than the previously proposed Library Square, that was proposed where the Aldi surface car park is.
As Stretford town centre's new King Street starts to take shape, take a look at the progress that's bee made so far.
Following the start of the King Street and Kingsway works, Bruntwood and Trafford Council are inviting the community to share their thoughts on the latest proposals for Stretford town centre.