Trafford Council has announced its intention to sell Regent Road car park and redevelop it as a mixed use development comprising additional parking spaces, retail units and residential apartments.
The council has added the car park – which currently has provision for 145 parking spaces – to its Land Sales programme, a list of land and buildings it intends to sell as part of its asset strategy.
And after a tender process which saw expressions of interest invited from developers interested in working on the redevelopment of the site, it has tasked Citybranch – the developer behind the plans for the former Altrincham General, as well as Hale Barns Square and the new Timperley library – with working up its scheme in more detail.
Speaking exclusively to Altrincham Today, Citybranch director Adam Gross revealed his firm’s plans would see a suitable part of the site converted into a multi-storey car park, boosting the total number of spaces within the car park to “in excess of 250”.
He said Citybranch’s plans were considered the “most deliverable scheme in the shortest timeframe”.
“We are very mindful of the requirements of the public and retailers and very conscious that everyone needs parking as the town regenerates,” he said.
“We want to increase parking but we’re also aware of the need to make it as aesthetically pleasing as possible – nobody wants to be driving down Regent Road and see a big multi-storey car park there.”
He said that not all of the car park would be converted into multi-storey, with other parts of the current site converted into residential apartments primarily, with some leisure retail units fronting on to Regent Road.
He added that although there would be a small number of contract parking spaces for use by the hospital and health and wellbeing, it would be a public car park bound by the council’s borough-wide charging policies.
Gross said he would be consulting with local bodies including the Altrincham Civic Society.
Also involved in the plans are Altrincham companies Project 3 Architects and Planit IE.
Plans for the redevelopment of the site were included in the Altrincham Neighbourhood Business Plan, a 15-year plan for the town which was formally submitted to Trafford Council in October.
The plan said that the public demand for increased town centre parking was “strongly emphasised” during the consultation period. It said that doubling the existing capacity of the 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”.
This week, the council said that disposing of the land would “create a number of benefits both in terms of direct financial return to the Council and wider economic development and sustainability benefits”.
Citybranch could be given official go-ahead to work up their plans as early as tomorrow, with Gross saying that work would hopefully begin on Monday.
Altrincham Unlimited, the body that represents businesses in the town centre, said it would be meeting with Altrincham Ward Councillor Young and MP Graham Brady tomorrow to discuss parking and accessibility in Altrincham town centre.
It said it would be emphasising the need for a “long-term vision and joined up strategy” that will serve the needs of Altrincham’s residents, businesses and visitors.
Katie Bland, Altrincham BID Manager, said: “Developments including the new Health & Wellbeing Centre, plans for Phase 2 of the long-awaited Altair development and the most recent proposal for Regent Road car park are all major infrastructure developments that will not only have an impact on parking capacity in the town centre, but will also attract more visitors and workers to Altrincham. These developments are exciting and will play important roles in the continued resurgence of Altrincham.
“The town centre has enjoyed significant growth over the last 3-4 years, with an additional influx of visitors since these applications were passed by the Council. The BID and town centre businesses are therefore keen to ensure that there is a clear strategy between these developments that will facilitate convenient and sustainable access to the town in years to come, enabling the town to continue to thrive.”
One local retailer, who did not want to be named, contacted Altrincham Today to express concerns over the “underhand way in which this decision has been implemented”.