A plan which could shape Altrincham’s future for the next 15 years has been submitted to Trafford Council – and it’s time for you to have your say.
The Altrincham Neighbourhood Business Plan has been formally submitted to Trafford and the public and businesses have six weeks – until October 11th – to give their comments.
Work on the Altrincham Neighbourhood Business Plan has been underway since the Council formally designated the plan area and the Forum in 2014. There have been three previous rounds of public consultation which have all influenced this submitted version.
It’s all intended to ensure the town “evolves into an economically, environmentally and socially attractive and dynamic centre”.
An independent examiner will now be appointed who will consider the plan and make a recommendation as to whether it can go forward to a public vote. If a majority of those voting in the resulting referenda – one for the public and one for businesses – it will be adopted by the Council and be used in determining planning applications as well as guiding public and private sector investment decisions in the town.
We have been through the document and picked out 10 key ways it is proposing the town centre should develop in the period up until 2030 – here they are:
1 Relocate the Moss Lane builders’ merchants and build houses on the land
The plan suggests the two Moss Lane sites – currently occupied by Jewsons and Travis Perkins – would be “more appropriately located” in industrial areas and replaced by housing, although it admits the proposed change of use “cannot be guaranteed”.
2 Create an extra 200 parking spaces on land currently occupied by the leisure centre
Part of the Altair scheme proposals is the development of a new leisure centre, which would require the demolition of the current, ageing one. The plan proposes that this would create “one of the very few opportunities available” to create more town centre parking space – at least 200 spaces – as well as more residential housing along Oldfield Road.
3 Increase the capacity of Regent Road car park by over 150 spaces
The plan says that the public demand for increased town centre parking was “strongly emphasised” during the consultation period. It says that doubling the existing capacity of Regent Road car park (from 145 to 300) “needs to be implemented in order to provide improved accessibility and to improve the vitality of the town centre”.
4 Establish a commemorative public space in Chapel Street
The street was dubbed “the bravest little street in England” by King George V after 49 of its 161 residents were killed during World War One – 29 in battle, with a further 20 dying of their wounds on their return. Chapel Street was pulled down in the 1930s, and there remains only a blue plaque to mark its important place in not just Altrincham’s but the country’s history. The plans propose something more significant to recognise the “important history of Chapel Street”.
5 Reduce the number of shops in the town centre
The plan says that with retail vacancies continuing “in excess of 15% of all space”, there’s a “clear case for focussing the retail core to create a fully occupied and competitive heart”. This would entail designating parts of the town centre as primary retail space and others as Mixed Use Active Frontages, defined as “any visually interesting display which can attract the attention of passers-by and provide information on the services offered”, and can include all uses including retail, leisure, commercial, office and tourism.
6 Attract a convenience-size supermarket to the town centre
The plan says it’s “essential” that Altrincham adjusts to the new “convenience culture” and attracts convenience stores to the town centre – examples being a Tesco Express, Co-op Food or Sainsbury’s Local. An obvious candidate for a suitable site in the town centre would be the former New Look unit in the Stamford Quarter.
7 Build an extra 550 houses in the town centre by 2030
The plan would “attract as much conversion and refurbishment of existing town centre buildings as possible”, particularly encouraging young professionals and older people (those less likely to need a car) to fill the resulting residential space. Those with cars could use the free overnight parking at Regent Road, it says.
8 A revolution in the town centre’s digital infrastructure
The plan says the same technology that has put the traditional high street under pressure also provides “exciting new opportunities”. This translates into high quality 4G and eventually 5G connectivity; fast, free WiFi in all shops; free charging facilities throughout the town; click and collect locations for groups of independent retail outlets, and more, allowing Altrincham to “embrace and exploit the digital revolution”.
9 Protect the market and ensure no development proposals detract from its significance
The plan says the revamped market is a “critical component” in the development of the town and that “full account” should be taken of its significance to the town centre.
10 Develop Altrincham as a community hub
The plan sets out plans to develop the town as a “social centre… a community hub aimed at providing the full range of services for the catchment community”, safeguarding places of “community value” such as local shops, meeting places, sports venues, cultural buildings, public houses, places of worship and other local services valued by the local community.
How to have your say
The Altrincham Town Centre Neighbourhood Business Plan and all associated documents are available to view on the Strategic Planning web pages at: www.trafford.gov.uk/AltrinchamNBP
The documents are also available for public inspection at all public libraries/Access Trafford offices during normal opening hours. For more information about locations and opening hours, go to http://www.trafford.gov.uk/libraries.
Comments on the plan can be made until 5pm on Tuesday 11 October 2016 using the online comment form on Trafford Council’s website and be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, comments can be posted to Strategic Planning, Trafford Council, Trafford Town Hall, Talbot Road, Stretford. M32 0TH.