Trafford Council consults over regeneration plan for Empress Conservation Area

Trafford Council is preparing a regeneration plan for a ‘deteriorating’ conservation area in Old Trafford after being awarded £70K joint funding from Homes England and Historic England.

The Empress Conservation Area has been selected to undergo heritage-led regeneration because of its significant historic and architectural importance.

Its surviving elements tell the story of Old Trafford’s industrial development: workers’ terraces mix in with industrial buildings that sprang up to take advantage of the growing canal network and docks.

However, some of its historic buildings – which are centred around the impressive Essence Factory – have fallen into a state of disrepair despite being designated as a conservation area in 1995 by the Council.

It was subsequently placed on the national Heritage At Risk Register by Historic England in 2012 on account of it being in a ‘very bad’ and ‘deteriorating’ condition and highly vulnerable.

The Council aims to address the causes of decline at Empress in order to generate investment and sensitively redevelop the area, while also encouraging the community to understand and enjoy this undervalued historic part of Old Trafford.

The first round of public consultation over the heritage-led regeneration plan will take place on Friday 22 March, 12 – 5pm at Trafford Town Hall. This will be a drop-in where residents and businesses from the area can hear more about the project and share their thoughts on the area and its future.

Cllr Liz Patel, Lead Member for Economy and Regeneration at Trafford Council, said: “The Empress Conservation Area is a significant historic and modern place. Developing out of the industrial booms of the 18th and 19th century, it continues as a close-knit live-work community. Its historic character, and what this means to people, is however at risk of being lost.

“We are collaborating on a plan to secure the area’s longer-term vitality, vibrancy and build on what it means to those that work and live in the area. We are keen to hear the views of local people on what they love about the area and what they want it to be.”

The Council has appointed conservation architects, Donald Insall Associates, to work with them on the project. The drop-in session on Friday 22 March will be visioning exercise to invite feedback which will then be used to inform the development of the heritage-led regeneration plan. There will then be further public consultation later in 2024.

Posted on Wednesday 20th March 2024