Trafford Council has waved through an application to convert the Altrincham Jobcentre into 91 apartments – despite the development having 33 fewer parking spaces than the authority usually requires.
An application, submitted by ELG Planning on behalf of Mandale Apartments 2 Ltd, had requested a change of use from office to residential to allow the creation of 91 residential, one-bedroom apartments.
Some had thought that the fact the Manchester Road development would only have 58 available parking spaces at the site – effectively meaning that 33 of the apartments would not have an allocated space – would present a problem at the planning stage as Trafford usually requires a minimum of one parking space per dwelling with residential developments.
A total of 55 neighbours also objected to the scheme, with a letter from Navigation Primary School claiming the development would “inevitably lead to residents and visitors using the surrounding roads to park”.
But Trafford’s planning officer, with the guidance of a Transport Statement and Travel Plan submitted by the applicant, has nonetheless given the green light to the scheme.
The Transport Statement, compiled by travel consultants TPS, found that the the proposals “are likely to result in a significant reduction in vehicular trips on the local highway network” and that “there are no discernible highway reasons why the proposals should not be granted planning consent”.
It also found that while 58 parking spaces was below the standard required by Trafford Council, “this level of parking provision is considered appropriate to cater for anticipated demand” as there will be “easy access on foot/by bike to a wide range of amenities/services by sustainable travel modes”.
The Jobcentre has occupied the lower floors of the 23,000 sq ft building for over 20 years, and still handles 950 public appointments a month.
The upper floors of the six-floor building – the site of the Regal Cinema for 25 years before it burned down in 1956 – are thought to be vacant.
No external alterations to the building are proposed as part of the application.