Trafford Council says it is “deeply disappointed” about the decision to close Rackhams but remains confident about the future of Altrincham town centre.
House of Fraser confirmed yesterday that the Stamford Quarter department store, a fixture of the Altrincham high street for decades, would be one of 31 stores closed by the company as it attempts to secure a “viable” future.
Dozens of jobs will be lost at Rackhams as a result, with the final closure – assuming the plan is approved by creditors later this month – taking place in early 2019.
Altrincham has enjoyed a spectacular regeneration in recent years – it was recently named the best place to live in the North West by the Sunday Times – but there are fears that the major difficulties facing the retail industry could undo some of the good work.
But Trafford Council says it is confident that Altrincham town centre will “continue to be resilient and go from strength to strength”, and will be working with the owners of the Rackhams building, Lunar Altrincham Sarl, as well as Altrincham Unlimited, to consider proposals for the reuse of the building.
Cllr James Wright, Exec Member for Investment, Regeneration and Strategic Planning, said: “This is really sad news and we are deeply disappointed for the people who will lose their jobs. Rackhams has been a long established feature of the high street for many years, however, its closure does not make us any less confident about Altrincham’s future. It has continually bucked the national trend and thrived while other towns in the UK have struggled.
“The Council had a vision several years ago to create a vibrant town centre and it has been transformed by the Council working in partnership with the private sector. We are committed to improving and growing the town centre for the benefit of residents, businesses and visitors alike. Altrincham is a destination in its own right and we will work to develop that, so it continues to be one of the best places to live in the country.”
Ewen Miller, Chair of Altrincham Unlimited, added: “While the closure of Rackhams is very disappointing, and sadly puts a number of jobs at risk, it reflects national long-term retail trends.
“However, this will not knock Altrincham off course as it continues to improve trading activity, increase visitor numbers and build its reputation as a modern market town with a strong sense of community.
“We continue to attract many different businesses and look forward to welcoming many more in the future, including the London-based Everyman boutique cinema chain due to open in the Autumn. The revival of Altrincham will continue, and we foresee a positive future for the town centre as great place to visit, work and start a business.”