Altair sequel passed by planners

Trafford Council planning committee yesterday approved revised outline plans for Nikal's £70m leisure-led development in Altrincham town centre.

Altair would cover 4.5 acres next to the new transport interchange and contain a new 43,000 sq ft leisure centre, 96,000 sq ft of retail and restaurants, coffee shops and cafes, a 7,400 sq ft bowling alley, 150 new apartments and townhouses, as well as 35,000 sq ft of office space and a car park, the size of which would be confirmed prior to development.

Planning consent for the original larger design was granted in 2008. Nikal subsequently bought out the interest of joint venture partner David McLean following its collapse into administration as the financial crisis hit.

Nick Payne, managing director of Nikal, said: "We've had a vision to regenerate this brownfield site for many years and it's tremendously exciting to be taking the next steps with the support of the council.

"It's a promising time for Altrincham; the refurbishment of the interchange is underway, there are new plans to revitalise the marketplace and now Altair. All these schemes will help rejuvenate the town and bring people and trade back into the area, as well as creating new jobs. In particular, Altair will focus on enhancing Altrincham's hospitality offering, creating a vibrant leisure area, linking sport with eateries.

"We've designed Altair so it will provide much needed linkages between the different areas of Altrincham, helping to enhance trade and dwell time for residents and visitors. The new office space will attract further investment from businesses currently situated outside the town and borough and the apartments and townhouses will create new housing opportunities not seen in the area."

Over the next few months, Nikal said it will ask local residents for their input on the types of occupiers they would like to see in Altair.

The planning consent is for indicative layout only and Nikal would have to get detailed designs approved in a reserved matters planning application before construction could begin.

There are no prelets agreed on the scheme.

Payne added: "Altair is being built by Altrincham people, for Altrincham people. I'm proud to be part of something which is going to create a lasting positive impact for the area. It will enhance what Altrincham already has to offer and create a new, safe and vibrant location for local people and families to enjoy and relax in."

HOW Planning prepared and submitted the planning application for Nikal. Elizabeth Lees, senior planning and environmental consultant at HOW Planning, said: "This is a great result which will help to the ongoing regeneration of Altrincham town centre. The plans have been very well received and I think everyone is looking forward to seeing the new development take shape."

Work on site is expected to begin in early 2014 and be completed by 2017. Ian Simpson Architects designed Altair.

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exciting times for Altrincham! You have to give the Council great credit for what they are doing in Altrincham.

By AltyResident

Exciting times yes and let’s hope this scheme successfully draws people back to Altrincham but the 7 years to implement rather than the usual 3 on the conditions suggests it will be a long time coming. Altrincham needs a more compact town centre not a enlarged one so too many shops in this area would be a disaster for the existing town centre.

By Altrincham resident

Well if that’s the case, I m an altrincham citizen born and bred and I would be proud to offer our site security and CCTV Services at a massive discount as I would be honoured and proud to be part of seeing my home town redeveloped!!

By Robert Kennedy

As an affected resident whose property has been blighted for 9 years by development plans, I would advise excitement to be tempered with a dose of reality. This long neglected site has consistently failed to turn into an active development site. Relations with affected neighbours has soured following failure to fulfil contractual obligations and refusal to respond to communications. There has been no discussion with 11 households and that is no way to treat residents whose amenities are set to be sacrificed for the ‘sake of the town’. There are some really big issues remaining to be resolved. An inadequate provision for parking, inadequate linkages to the existing town centre and the likelihood of damage to existing town centre retailers and restaurants/bars who are hardly thriving now. A shiny new complex is likely to draw people away further rather than encourage footfall in more established trading areas. I’ve had a belly full of PR spin on this development and neither the developer nor councillors are willing to discuss ways in which to placate residents.

By Sarah Walmsley

I agree with some of the comments here re too many shops, poor links through to the "real" town centre. Too many towns have seen their retail centre dragged too a poor edge of town site (because it will make the developers a fortune). This inevitably blights the "real" town centre.

By AltyResident

Although I agree that we should be wary of what seems like PR spin, I don’t think that this development is "on the edge of town" It will back onto the station and hopefully extend our town centre. I for one welcome any attempt to upgrade what is a pretty poor leisure centre and an eyesore of a brownfield site. Cautious optimism is warranted.

By D Moss

I think the Council are dealing with potential issues regarding the Altair site being edge of town (perceived or otherwise) by improving pedestrian links and improving the market area. Cautious optimism sums the current situation fairly well!

By AltyResident

I just wondered who got paid what to get this through planning. Just like the B&Q site in Broadheath changing to a Morrisons; it’s something we simply don’t need or want. I hope to god Nick lives in Altrincham but I’d imagine it’s more likely to be Hale. What we need is smaller units, independents and boutique brands. Not another Cafe Nero.

By alty resident

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