IntoPlaces, Sonia Cubrilo, Matt Colledge And Penny Bell
Sonia Cubrilo, left, with Matt Colledge and Penny Bell

Altrincham town centre team launches regeneration venture

The team behind Altrincham Forward, an important part of the Trafford town’s renaissance, has formed a consultancy to help revitalise other town centres around the UK.

Matt Colledge, Penny Bell, and Sonia Cubrilo helped to develop the model for Altrincham in 2011 and have now formed IntoPlaces to roll out similar models and regeneration methods across the country.

IntoPlaces aims to move away from traditional approaches which it claims “lack the ownership and backing of key stakeholders as well as the town’s wider business and residential communities”.

It aims to share models which the team developed to encourage engagement with these sectors, and also stimulate the property sector and support businesses by offering solutions based on first-hand experiences.

IntoPlaces is part of the High Street Task Force panel, which is a team of experts providing advice and guidance to other towns looking for revitalisation. The HSTF is ran by the Institute of Place Management from Manchester Metropolitan University, on behalf of the Government; this will last for four years.

The company is also working with Bacup town centre to aid its regeneration. It aims to expand further in the coming months and support councils and others directly to make it a full-time operation.

Matt Colledge, former leader of Trafford Council, director at Lexington Communications, and founder of the public-private sector organisation Altrincham Forward, said: “We have been asked so many times how we regenerated Altrincham, it seemed a logical extension to offer a service that provides this much needed support, at a time when high street renewal is high on the agenda.

“For towns to recapture their uniqueness and be places of experience and difference, a collective vision needs to be created, engaging everyone. This is one of the many services that we offer, based on our experiences in successfully regenerating town centres.”

Penny Bell, who worked on the operational delivery of Altrincham Forward, said: “We are also able to take that shared vision and turn it into a tangible strategy with key actions taken forward by many partners. For example, our unique model of bringing landlords together is an incredibly powerful tool to drive up occupancy of vacant property, encourage new businesses and improve the visitor experience.”

Sonia Cubrilo, who was responsible for developing partnerships and stakeholder engagement including community groups and young people, said: “We have taken the same journey and faced the challenges that town centres continue to battle with, but without creating wider local ownership and engagement, towns will struggle to be successful going forward. This is where we can provide our expertise to help organisations.”

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Every time we hear Altrincham is being “regenerated”, you can absolutely GUARANTEE that within a week another shop will be closed. KFC gone, Dawson music, and debenhams soon to go. Altrincham is an old people’s town where the locals go to tesco and go shopping once a month for clothing in M&S. There isn’t interest whatsoever in any form of shopping. The town is effectively finished.

By Anonymous

If it’s Bank’s and charity shops your after then come to Altrincham!!! There’s absolutely nothing there.

By Anonymous

With the continuously aging population of Altrincham there needs to be more emphasis on turning the town into a more busy and trendy social hub. Shopping is continously on the decline. The answer is to close off half of the shops (particularly the traditional Rackhams end of the precinct-which simply seems like it was an afterthought in the original town planning process ) and turn them into high end residences. The remaining outlets can then incorporate trendy cafes and restaurants very much like the Spinningfields area in Manchester. This will mean the area will be more exclusive as there will be fewer units to fill and will concentrate and enhance the quality on offer.

By Anonymous

There needs to be more emphasis on turning the town into a more busy and trendy social hub. Shopping is continously on the decline. The answer is to close off half of the shops (particularly the traditional Rackhams end of the precinct-which simply seems like it was an afterthought in the original town planning process ) and turn them into high end residences. The remaining outlets can then incorporate trendy cafes and restaurants very much like the Spinningfields area in Manchester. This will mean the area will be more exclusive as there will be fewer units to fill and will concentrate and enhance the quality on offer.

By Anonymous

These comments are insane lol

By Anonymous

Historically Altrincham is a Market Town and we need to concentrate an environment that encourages the correct balance of homes and small independent traders in the same town centre location, many of the buildings in the town should be converted in to affordable apartments with an emphasis on young people, on a national level we should levy more taxes on internet retail to address the balance on the high street.
I would also say that the so called regeneration of Altrincham would be better served by locally elected representation than by a group of undercover developers who seek to make a personal profit like the people involved in this so called regeneration venture featured,

By The resident

Have any of you actually been to Altrincham recently? If you did, judging by your “insane” (quite right) outdated comments it was clearly in a Delorean with Marty McFly set for 1995! Yes, some retailers (the big ones who have failed to adapt to modern consumer shopping trends) are crumbling away but in their wake are striding an army of brave independent entrepreneurs who are seizing the opportunity to set up shop and tout their wares to locals and visitors from far and wide. Yes there is an ageing population who still do all their weekly shop on the high start (and thank goodness for some retailers they do) but so what? They are not the only shoppers and the town genuinely is enjoying a renaissance! If you don’t believe me take a look at The Sunday Times who named it the best place to live in the NW 2018 and it was voted as having the Best British High Street in the UK. Do yourselves a favour and grab a tram, train or bus (Alty has them all) to the £19million super duper transport interchange one weekend and head to the Market House, before you share any more retro opinions in a public domain. You’ll be very glad you did!

By MAJOR GRUMP