Trafford Council looks set to refuse plans to build 433 apartments on the former B&Q next to Old Trafford Cricket Ground following fierce opposition from Lancashire County Cricket Club, which argued the development could put the venue’s Test status at risk.
Developer Accrue has proposed to build the apartments on the former B&Q, bordered by the Metrolink and the cricket club on Great Stone Road.
The plans are for a series of brick-clad blocks ranging between four and 12 storeys, containing a mix of apartment types, along with ground floor retail, undercroft car parking, and improved public realm.
The proposals by architect O’Connell East have been scaled back significantly following feedback from Trafford Council’s planning officers.
Initially, the developer had put forward three tower blocks ranging between 12 and 26 storeys on the site at pre-application stage, but planning officers pushed back on these designs. A consultation was held on the updated scheme last summer.
Despite the changes, officers have recommended the scheme be refused when Trafford Council’s planning committee meets next week, with a series of objections put forward by residents, local landowner Bruntwood, and Lancashire County Cricket Club.
The Cricket Club has even gone as far as to take out a front-cover advertisement in local newspaper The Messenger, calling for locals to object to the project when it goes to planning committee later this week.
In the advertisement, the club argued: “The development will have a negative impact physically on the area, as one of the concerns is that the proposed 13-storey development will have significant visual impact on the townscape, thus creating an overbearing and dominant eyesore for local residents and visitors to the area.
“At such a height, the development is not in keeping with the rest of the townscape, creating a stark contrast with the traditional two-storey housing surrounding the proposed site”.
LCCC added the scheme could put future Test cricket at risk at the stadium: “Not only will [the scheme] be overbearing in relation to the cricket ground, but due to its height, there is a significant likelihood that it will cast a shadow over the stadium, which in turn could affect play during a game, and put future Test matches at risk”.
In comments submitted to planning officers, Bruntwood and LCCC also argued the scheme would cause “overshadowing” and “visual intrusion”, as well as flagging issues over noise and vibration.
Planning officers have fallen on the side of LCCC, arguing the scheme should be refused by members based on its “poor design”, a lack of affordable housing, and the impact on LCCC, Trafford Town Hall, and the Longford Park Conservation area.
Listing nine separate reasons for refusal, the report states: “The proposed development would represent poor design as its height, scale, layout, density, massing and monolithic appearance are inappropriate in its context and would result in a building which would be significantly out of scale and keeping with its surroundings. This would have a highly detrimental impact on the street scene and the character and quality of the area.
“The proposed development by virtue of its height, massing, scale and layout would result in a poor level of amenity and unacceptable living standards for future occupiers of the development, by virtue of inadequate daylight, sunlight and outlook in both apartments and amenity areas.”
Reflecting the concerns of LCCC, planning officers added: “The scale of the harm and the significance of [the cricket ground] as well as the potential impact on the visitor experience are considered to be sufficient to weigh strongly against the proposals.”
Trafford’s planning committee will meet on Thursday 28 March to discuss the proposals.