The investor’s plans for the former B&Q site next to Old Trafford Cricket Ground once again look destined to fail, despite the scheme being scaled back to 333 apartments following an earlier refusal.
Accrue Capital submitted fresh plans in July for the Great Stone Road site, vacant since the DIY chain’s owner Kingfisher closed the store in 2016 and sold the site.
Accrue’s earlier proposal, for 433 apartments with a highest point of 12 storeys – the developer having already pulled back plans for towers of up to 26 floors – was rejected in March 2019, with neighbouring Lancashire CCC among the most vocal critics.
The proposal has now been replaced with a scheme comprising blocks of varying height between four and nine storeys. Trafford Council’s planning committee is to consider the scheme on 15 October.
Since the 2019 decision, the council has announced its willingness to look at using compulsory purchase powers at the site to enable its Civic Quarter masterplan, under which terms the site is described as suiting something of four storeys, with possibilities including parking, a leisure centre and “possibly a mix of higher value uses”.
Trafford’s planning officers report that “although carrying limited weight at this time, the application site has been identified within the draft area action plan (for the Civic Quarter) as an optimal location for consolidated car parking and complementary leisure-based activities… a high density residential scheme does not accord with the vision for this site”.
The cricket club, along with Sport England backed by the English Cricket Board, remains vehemently opposed to the scheme. It claims that the proposed development would be highly visible from within and outside the ground, and that its height, scale and massing would adversely impact on what is an internationally important tourist attraction – one that all parties must be aware has undergone a costly and ongoing redevelopment in recent years.
In addition, Sport England pointed out the impact on the training facility at Old Trafford, along with access to the ground and the intention of the masterplan to open up accessible sporting facilities.
Accrue’s architect for the project is O’Connell East Architects, and its planning advisor WSP Indigo.