Plans for the next phase of a new £70million residential, leisure and lifestyle quarter in Altrincham have been submitted – but fears have been raised about its “catastrophic” impact on the number of town centre parking spaces.
Preliminary work on phase one of the 4.5 acre Altair scheme began earlier this month, with demolition and enabling works underway on the former ATS Euromaster centre on Oakfield Road, which will make way for a new apartment block consisting of 59 apartments and ground-floor retail space.
Phase two, for which a reserved matters application has now been submitted, includes the construction of four contemporary buildings, to include a further 91 apartments, 44,000 sq ft of leisure retail space, 20,000 sq ft of Grade A office space and a 200-space basement car park.
Developers Nikal, which has worked closely with Trafford Council on the Altair plans, says the buildings will be surrounded by a “stunning” new public realm, with a central boulevard linking the site with the Interchange and also providing an “attractive” outdoor space for people to spend time.
Managing director Nick Payne said: “We’re excited to be sharing our vision for Altair as a dynamic and thriving new Quarter in modern Altrincham. Phase Two reveals how Altair will complement the town’s existing offering and help attract new residents, workers, businesses, shoppers and visitors from near and far.
“It’s an exciting time for Altrincham. The town centre is evolving and it has already become a popular place to live, work and socialise. This stylish new Quarter will provide high quality but affordable new homes where values will appreciate as well as create exciting new opportunities for retailers, leisure providers and businesses looking for superior commercial space with unrivalled transport links and amenities.”
Many have doubted whether the scheme – for which Nikal first won the green light as far back as 2008 – would ever go ahead.
Outline planning consent for the entire scheme was granted in 2014 with a planning decision on Phase Two anticipated in April 2017. Earlier this month, council leader Sean Anstee exclusively told Altrincham Today that Altair would definitely be happening.
But not everyone is happy with the plans – Sarah Walmsley, of community group Our Altrincham, said the plans would lead to there being “hundreds” of fewer public parking spaces where the Oakfield Road car park currently is, as the 200-space car park would only be for use by Altair residents and businesses.
“Catastrophic is the only word for these plans,” she said. “These plans are based on the Altrincham of 2013 when we need to be thinking of the Altrincham of 2017 – there are so many more businesses now open and trading, and the market has regenerated the town so that many more people are coming from further afield.
“These hundreds of spaces are relied upon by residents, commuters, shoppers, lesiure centre and ice rink users. I would say to the people of Altrincham: say no to this.”
Nikal MD Payne insisted that there would be further public car parking made available as the scheme progressed.
“A further planning application will be lodged for the leisure centre and associated car parking in due course,” he said.
“At the moment, the car park is predominantly used by commuters who are leaving the town centre to travel elsewhere. Network Rail has agreed to significantly increase the capacity of its parking to provide additional spaces for these users.
“Our focus is on providing parking for those coming into Altrincham who intend to support local businesses and keep the town centre thriving.”
The planning application can be searched for here (no 90432). The deadline for comments is February 27th.