Turn Moss

Extended consultation on Turn Moss plans closes today

Charlie Schouten

A consultation on controversial plans by UA92 and Trafford Council to build a football training ground and new facilities on Turn Moss in Stretford will close at 5pm today, with campaigners claiming the scheme has received more objections than any other planning application in Trafford’s history.

The planning application will see UA92 and the council 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 Trafford Council’s Stretford masterplan earlier this year, the plans by University Academy 92, headed up by former footballers Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, and Nicky Butt, have attracted a deluge of opposition from local residents and campaign groups.

Following a high number of representations, the initial consultation period was extended by around a month from March to 5pm on 18 April, and Trafford is aiming to have the proposals go to planning committee on Thursday 17 May.

As of today, there had been 1,747 objections to the scheme uploaded to Trafford’s planning portal, with campaign groups focussing on the loss of green space and the “hastily and poorly-constructed” planning application.

Campaigners have also argued the plans were “clearly in contravention” of policies including the National Planning Policy Framework and green belt policy.

Groups including Save Turn Moss have also targeted a number of planning application’s surveys for criticism, arguing both the transport and bat surveys were both “conducted well outside the peak months for bat activity and community usage”, having been carried out in September, February, and January.

The group argued more surveys were needed, particularly during the peak months for community usage between May and August, to fully outline how the proposals would impact the area.

Despite the opposition, leader of Trafford Council Sean Anstee has defended 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”.

Trafford initially estimated the works will cost the council £1.5m, but this has increased to £2.5m since February.

No contractor has been appointed to the scheme as yet, with a tender process expected to start if planning consent is secured.

An updated construction method statement on Trafford’s planning portal said works at the site are due to last for 23 weeks, with works carried out between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, and between 8.30am and 1pm on Saturdays.

Further criticism from campaigners has focussed on the site’s ecology, particularly around local wildlife. This includes the use of the site by wintering gulls as well as nesting birds in the summer months, alongside habitats for protected species, including bats.

Updated ecology reports by consultant Bowland Ecology argued any trees that will be removed as part of the plans had “negligible suitability for bats” while two trees which had “high suitability” will both be retained.

In addition, the consultant said following a data search with the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit there was no evidence the sports pitches had been used by gulls over winter. The consultant’s report recommended that any work carried out during the bird breeding season would be subject to a pre-clearance survey, with no works allowed to be carried out within 5m of nesting birds.

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.

The professional team on the Turn Moss project includes Re-Form Landscape Architecture, which has created the scheme’s design & access statement; and How as planner.

Your Comments

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Currently this space is under utilised and often falls victim to fly tipping. This is an example of a good plan and an opportunity to add facilities and buzz to a historically “nothing” space. Especially given the development is only 10% of the space, and even if it were 20% that would still be marginal change.

By Dave S

Couple of observations: It is not UA92 doing this it is Trafford Council. Trafford Council are borrowing the money and the risk is being carried by the local tax payer. The Council are then leasing it to Salford Football club for 10 years (primly with break clauses). UA92 will then also get use of it ( The Council ant indicate Dif they will pay for this or get it for free). Salford Football Club and UA92 are not putting any money into this – they will just be paying rent.

By Anthony W

I agree with Dave S. The negative publicity to this in Stretford/Chorlton is disproportionate and is largely fuelled by misinformation and ideologies that developing on ‘green’ space = bad. The fact is playing fields offer very little in terms of ecological potential so developing them into better playing fields is going to have negligible impact. The social benefits of the scheme are being underrepresented.

By Superhans

Plans for Turn Moss are badly thought out, being rushed through and Trafford are riding rough shod over tax payers wishes. At the end of the day it will be Trafford tax payers (no one else) who foot the bill and if it goes wrong we will end up paying for it long term. Trafford have not considerd working with Friends of Turn Moss who have brilliant ideas on usage which would benefit EVERYONE not just the chosen few. They need to withdraw the plans and seriously consider a way forward which will encompass ALL usage for Turn Moss not just footballers. Nor have Trafford looked at alternative sources of funding if they want to improve Turn Moss, they are hell bent on comfying up to an ex-footballer with a pie in the sky idea. There is a plethora of misinformation being handed out which has had surveys conducted on the back of it, thus the survey results are incorrect.

By Anne Russell

The problems Dave S states are very real but the whole sorry episode is a case study in how to alienate locals. If benefits are being underrepresented, that’s a failure of those promoting the scheme not people’s response to that underrepresentation.

By Robert Alatt