Stretford Masterplan - Town Centre FAQs

How will the refreshed Masterplan improve the Town Centre?

The original Masterplan of 2014 has brought improvements to Stretford, but unfortunately the vacancy rate within the Town Centre remains high – 27% in Stretford, compared to the borough average of 8% - and important sites remain vacant or undeveloped. 

This refreshed Masterplan tackles these issues and enables development such as UA92 and the Essoldo building to come forward at a faster pace, in line with what residents have told us are a priority.

The proposals in the refreshed Masterplan, such as the student accommodation, would act as a catalyst for further investment and help to grow the Stretford economy. The delivery of the Masterplan would support an improved Town Centre offer with:

  • A balance of national retailers and ndependent stores
  • New restaurant, bar and café uses
  • Leisure and family orientated activities
  • Professional services and
  • Community facilities

The UA92 proposals would support significant additional activity and expenditure in the Town Centre, including support for the further development of the evening economy and provide additional direct and indirect jobs. 

Individual projects:

Lacy Street Site

What are the proposals for student accommodation at Lacy Street?

The Lacy Street site currently comprises the surface car park, probation office, Royal Mail sorting office and Atlas Heating and Bathrooms premises. The Council is seeking to acquire those sites it doesn’t currently own, and is in discussions with the existing occupiers.

The site is identified for high quality purpose built student accommodation and would house 360 students in September 2019 and a further 340 students in 2020. Further phases would follow as the University develops to its full size in later years.

Why is the Council proposing that the student accommodation is provided in this area?

Stretford needs regeneration and will only get this with additional numbers of people living in the area. The independent economic impact report which looked at the Masterplan concluded this was the case.

Great progress has been made on the Masterplan for Stretford since it was adopted in 2014, however the redevelopment of important sites has not taken place and a new approach is needed. Additional significant investment is required if it is to achieve its full potential.

The Council believes that by locating the student accommodation on this site we can:

  • Maximise the benefits for the Town Centre in terms of supporting new retail and leisure facilities that can be used by the whole community. 
  • Provide better quality and well managed facilities, with improved public realm and access to the canal, open to all the community.
  • Limit residential accommodation being turned into HMOs.

What would be provided on the Lacy Street site for the local community?

In addition to student accommodation it is proposed that there would be a mix of commercial spaces on the ground floor - for shops, cafés or restaurants – that would be accessible to all. There would also be a new public realm with access to the canal opened up.

We asked independent consultants to carry out an economic impact report into the student accommodation and it forecasts these plans would have a positive effect, bringing jobs and attracting businesses.

Is additional car parking planned for the town centre, bearing in mind the student accommodation is planned to be located on the Lacy St car park?

Future developments will need to demonstrate how they comply with the Council's car parking standards. Whilst some town centre car parking would be lost due to the UA92 Student Campus a significant amount of car parking remains available at Stretford Mall which is now free for three hours.

How are you going to tackle transport issues and air quality problems in the town centre?

Trafford Council is working with other local authorities in Greater Manchester to improve air quality across Greater Manchester.

We have already implemented a reduced speed on the A56 through Stretford, and we are liaising with Transport for Greater Manchester over our plans and if our proposals go ahead, the possible additional numbers using transport networks would be fed into their travel plan.

How are you planning to deal with the extra pressure on local services, like dentists and GP surgeries?

The Council recognises that residents have concerns about the current levels of services, and is working with the health service to improve these. As soon as we have confirmed proposals we will share these with the community. We will want to make sure that any improvements we put in place now are done in such a way that capacity can be increased as more people move into Stretford.  

Are you concerned about students bringing anti-social behaviour to the area?

We are concerned about any anti-social behaviour. Trafford is the safest place to live in Greater Manchester and we want to make sure it remains so in the future. We are consulting with Greater Manchester Police over the plans and will ensure that any suggestions they make are included in the revised masterplan.

Could these plans lower house prices in the area?

The Council asked an independent consultant to carry out an economic impact report and it anticipates house prices would rise as the area is regenerated, with more people living and spending money in Stretford, businesses will be attracted to the town centre.

What happens with this accommodation building if the university isn’t successful?

The Council and UA92 are confident that the university will be a success given the strength of the partners involved, including Lancaster University, one of the top ten in the country, and Microsoft. But we are not complacent and we would propose changing the building to a mix of private and affordable housing if the university does not grow as forecast. We would expect to know within 18 months of the university opening whether the university was likely to be a success.

Why does Stretford need to be the location for this accommodation? Can we just not have the leisure centre built here instead?

The current leisure centre is located very centrally for the wards that it mainly serves – Clifford, Gorse Hill, Stretford and Longford. The proposals are to build a new leisure centre in the same general location as the existing facility. If the leisure centre was re-located to the Lacy site this would move it further away from residents in Old Trafford, and also put it closer to Sale leisure centre, changing its catchment area.

Additionally, the leisure centre alone would not bring regeneration, as it wouldn’t necessarily increase footfall into the town centre shops, and is unlikely to be able to be accommodated on that site with adequate parking and access.

When will people see the detailed plans?

The council wanted to involve local people in this consultation at a very early stage. It is so early, we don’t have all the details for some of our proposals and won’t have them until we have read all the consultation feedback, listened to what the majority of the community has said and made changes.

When more details become available we will make sure people see them. For example, new images of the proposed Lacy Street development are now available to see online.  Subject to the consultation feedback it is currently proposed that a planning application would be made early in the New Year, when there will be further detailed information on the final proposals which will be subject to further consultation.

Do residents genuinely have a say or is this a done deal?

No, this is not a done deal. We genuinely want to listen to what the community thinks about these plans. The Council strongly believes this is a once in a generation opportunity for Stretford to attract investment which will regenerate the area and we want all residents to have their say.

The Essoldo

Will the Essoldo Cinema building be retained?

Yes, the Essoldo Cinema is a Grade II listed building and is protected by law. It is a distinctive local landmark and an important part of Stretford’s heritage. The proposals would retain this building and help secure its long term future for the whole community.

What are the proposals for the Essoldo site?

It is proposed that the vacant Essoldo building is brought back into use as a vibrant hub open to the whole community (complementing the provision at Stretford Public Hall). There are no detailed plans for the use of the Essoldo at the present time and the Council is seeking the views of the local community to inform this process, alongside looking at commercial opportunities.

The proposed redevelopment of adjoining land and buildings would improve the route along Edge Lane and deliver better access onto the Bridgewater Canal.  This could include student accommodation with commercial units, such as shops or food and drink outlets, on the ground floor.

The Council doesn’t own The Essoldo, so how will you carry out your plans?

The Council is looking to buy the Essoldo and is looking at the use of compulsory purchase powers if we aren’t able to buy through agreement with the current owner. The Council believes that bringing the Essoldo back into use at the heart of Stretford would be a huge asset for the town.

Whilst some town centre car parking will be lost, a significant amount of car parking remains available at Stretford Mall which is an option to discuss further.

Is the library going to be relocated in The Essoldo?

There are no specific proposals for Stretford Library and the Council is committed to maintaining library provision in Stretford. We do want to discuss with the local community whether there are preferable alternative locations for the library in Stretford.

The Mall

What are the plans for the Mall?

There is a new opportunity for the partial redevelopment of the Mall with a current planning application with the Council for the demolition of its southern portion (incorporating the old market area) and some of the frontage onto Chester Road.  This would provide a site for future development that improves the Town Centre offer in Stretford.

The Council is working closely with the owners of Stretford Mall, Apollo Global, to bring forward specific proposals.  The refreshed Masterplan would help attract further investment and deliver opportunities at the Mall site for reconfiguration and redevelopment, the creation of more attractive frontages, and the introduction of a wider mix of uses.

At the moment, the business vacancy rate in Stretford is 27%, excluding the area of the Mall that is currently planned for demolition. The average across the borough is 8%.

Public Spaces

We want to create a Town Centre that has good landscaping, that traffic is able to flow through easily, is attractive for pedestrians, has good cycle routes and has pleasant public spaces. 

Successful town centres have good quality streets and attractive public spaces. Work has already been carried out to improve the roads and public areas in Stretford Town Centre. At the A56 and Edge Lane entrance to Stretford we are creating new pedestrian crossings, improving landscaping to the King Street side of Stretford Mall, and have reduced the speed limit from 40mph to 30mph on the A56 through the Town Centre.

Future phases of improvements to public spaces are planned and would be subject to a separate consultation process.  These will cover the A56, Edge Lane, Kingsway, Barton Road, and the A56 Gyratory.

What improvements to cycling infrastructure and facilities are planned, especially bearing in mind the new student population?

The Stretford Refreshed Masterplan includes significant further investment in cycling infrastructure and facilities. These include further phases of work along the A56 corridor, A56 gyratory, Edge Lane and Kingsway. The council is committed to ensuring these improvements benefit pedestrians and cyclists as much as possible. A suggestion has already been put forward that the Council considers putting in a cycle lane next to the Metrolink, and we will discuss this proposal with Transport for Greater Manchester.

What are the plans for the A56?

The revised Masterplan presents a more attractive physical environment along Talbot Road and the A56 from the UA92 Campus Quarter to Stretford Town Centre which would significantly improve how these areas are connected. They are important gateways between Stretford and both Manchester City Centre and The Quays / MediaCityUK.

Linking the campus quarter with the student campus and the Town Centre would help to maximise the regeneration benefits for Stretford from the UA92 proposals and support further opportunities for investment and growth.

What is proposed for sites along the A56?

The draft Stretford Refreshed Masterplan identifies a number of sites that currently comprise landscaped areas along the A56, namely sites 12-16. The majority of these sites historically comprised development that was cleared to enable the widening of the A56. A number of these sites currently provide inactive frontages, a fragmented street scene through the Town Centre and routes that can feel hostile after dark.

The Council wants to discuss with the local community ideas for how they can be enhanced to provide a better environment.