Trafford Council has extended the consultation period on plans to build a football training ground on Turn Moss in Stretford after the proposals attracted a deluge of objections from local residents, with 1,600 representations received as of last Thursday.
The plans by Academy 92, headed up by former footballers Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, and Nicky Butt, are to build a training ground for Salford City FC, including four training pitches, an office, and a gym converted from an existing storage facility.
There will also be a new floodlit pitch for public use alongside a café, children’s play area, and changing facilities.
First revealed as part of the council’s Stretford masterplan earlier this year, the proposals have attracted fierce opposition from local residents, with more than 1,600 letters of representation sent to council planners at the time of writing.
Local groups, including Save Turn Moss, have criticised the plans, as has Trafford’s Green Party, which said the proposals “bear all the hallmarks of a hastily and poorly-constructed approach”, and argued the plans were “clearly in contravention” of policies including the National Planning Policy Framework and green belt policy.
As a result of the surge of public representation, the consultation period has been extended to Wednesday 18 April, and the likely date of the planning committee to discuss the proposals is Thursday 17 May. Save Turn Moss said it expected representations to “significantly increase in the next few days” to exceed 2,000.
Despite the opposition, leader of Trafford Council Sean Anstee took to social media to defend the plans, arguing there would be “no change to how Turn Moss can be accessed”.
He added the land would remain owned by the council, with the land leased to Salford FC for 10 years, and said the new sports facilities would “encourage more participation in sport” across the borough.
The pitches, he said, would only take up 10% of the total area of Turn Moss, and added the land the pitches are based on “has not been hired for sport since 2015 due to drainage problems”.
In a statement, Trafford Council’s local planning authority said: “The consultation carried out by the LPA on the Turn Moss planning application has led to a large amount of information being submitted by interested parties, which has required the LPA to request further information from the applicant to address these issues.
“Statutory and other consultees also need sufficient time to consider this information and respond. As the period in which consultees may respond is being extended, the LPA consider this opportunity should also be given to other interested parties.”
The professional team on the project includes Re-Form Landscape Architecture, which has created the scheme’s design & access statement; and How as planner.
Trafford Council started a consultation on the Stretford masterplan in October last year, and brought forward a refreshed document following feedback from local residents in January.
Central to the masterplan is the UA92 development, a sports, media, and business-focussed university on the Kellogg’s site on Talbot Road and Brian Statham Way.
This will include student accommodation, teaching space, and a new leisure centre to replace the existing Streford Leisure Centre. The site will also include around 160,000 sq ft of office and university space, a 184-bed hotel, and 154 apartments.
The council has already kicked off development of UA92 by agreeing to purchase a vacant office block on Chester Road for conversion into student accommodation.