Council approves LCC/Tesco Old Trafford plans

Michael Hunt

Trafford Council's planning committee has approved the application to redevelop Old Trafford cricket ground and the surrounding area.

The Old Trafford Partnership, made up of Lancashire County Cricket Club, Ask Developments and Tesco, has welcomed the decision as it attempts to keep international cricket in Trafford.

The council's planning committee held a meeting at 6.30pm tonight at Trafford Town Hall. It rejected a proposal made by Isle of Man-based Derwent Holdings to build a 90,000 sq ft Sainsbury's store on its White City Retail Park, which is located about a mile away.

However, the LCC/Tesco decision means that, subject to formal approval by Government Office North West, preparation work can begin on the redevelopment of the ground, with construction work set to start in the autumn.

Without substantial redevelopment, the England and Wales Cricket Board had confirmed that after this year's Test Match against Bangladesh there would be no more international cricket at Old Trafford. If Old Trafford is to remain an international venue, construction work must start in 2010 to meet strict deadlines set by the game's governing body.

The Old Trafford proposals are part of a sports-led regeneration strategy for a 50-acre mixed use neighbourhood. The plans include a Tesco store with approximately 94,000 sq ft retail sales floorspace providing a much needed local store and over 500 jobs, half of which would be guaranteed for the local long-term unemployed. In advance of the planning meeting, the size of food retail space in the store was reduced by 6,000 sq ft on the request of Tesco.

Jim Cumbes, chief executive of Lancashire County Cricket Club, said: "This is an historic decision for the future of international cricket in the North West – we can now press on with redeveloping the famous Old Trafford cricket ground and securing our place as one of the world's best cricketing arenas.

"The planning committee recognised the important role the club plays in supporting Trafford's economy – especially through hosting international matches like the Ashes. They also backed our plans to deliver a much needed new retail offering, hundreds of local jobs, and millions of pounds in regeneration to this part of the borough.

"With construction work now scheduled to start in the autumn, I would personally like to thank everyone who has backed our proposals. We have been overwhelmed by the level of support and encouragement we have received."

Trafford Council confirmed that as of Thursday 28 January it had received 947 letters of support for the proposals to redevelop Old Trafford cricket ground, build a new Tesco store on Chester Road, and regenerate this part of the borough, with 156 letters coming from Trafford residents and businesses. This compares to 263 objections in total from all UK addresses, with 155 from Trafford.

This level of support was backed up by figures released by the Old Trafford Partnership showing that its campaign to keep international cricket at Old Trafford had received 3,721 online pledges of support. A supportive petition with 341 local signatures was also submitted by the Gorse Hill Community Action Group.

Letters of support have been sent to Trafford Council from Greater Manchester's inward investment agency Midas, Visit Manchester, Marketing Manchester, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Manchester Hoteliers' Association, Manchester United and Manchester City football clubs, Media City UK, Trafford College, Lancashire Cricket Board and International Cricket Council, the governing body of world cricket, as well as many residents.

Research conducted for Yorkshire Forward and Yorkshire County Cricket Club into the 2009 Ashes Test Match demonstrated that Leeds benefited by over £1.2m per day during August's Headingley Ashes Test Match. During the three days of the test over 32,000 additional people visited the city, accounting for around £3.7m additional spend in the local economy. If the Test Match had run for the full five days, the figure would have been nearer £6m.

The development alone will bring investment of at least £70m into parts of Trafford which suffer from low levels of economic activity and employment.

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Another day, another Tesco. If only it were possible to create hundreds of small businesses in the area instead of forcing long term unemployed to stack shelves for the devil. Lots of small and medium sized units at affordable rates. Financial assistance from Government, endorsement from local community groups and Sports institutions. Basically the same thing without Tesco. Afterall, renowned, award winning food co-operatives exist a couple of miles away that would be only too pleased to assist setting up such a venture.

By Trafford Resident

There is always one dinosaur that opposes anything new. Bring it on I say well done Tesco for bringing jobs and therefore opportunity to an area devoid of investment

By concerned of manchester

Is it a surprise that Trafford MBC approved Tesco’s application? Lots of organisations and individuals were in favour but: the Council has 38 Conservative Councillors and only 19 Labour (five Lib Dems as well); Tesco likes Tories and Tories like Tesco. Sainsbury’s application for a store was rejected. Sainsbury’s likes Labour; Tories don’t like Sainsbury’s. I personally don’t like the Tesco empire so will boycott this store, as I do with the rest.

By Geoff Chandler

Perhaps if you were involved in the new Tesco stores and saw the joy on the faces of the long term unemployed when they were offered postions and again when they start work, you might think again. In my home town, the development of a new Tesco actually increased footfall in the town, and, therefore caused more small businesses to open and THRIVE.

By Labour Voter