Hale Library And Community Hall April 2019

Hale Community Trust tries again with library redevelopment

Charlie Schouten

Working with Hillcrest, Hale Community Trust has made a second attempt to demolish the village’s existing library and replace it with housing, along with building a community hall next to Hale bowling green.

The long-running scheme has been proposed since 2015, when Hillcrest and the Trust agreed to purchase the site of the existing library on Leigh Road from Trafford Council.

An application was submitted in January last year by architect Calderpeel and Hillcrest; this proposed demolishing the library and replacing it with eight homes and a retail unit, and building a new library and community centre next to Hale bowling green, to replace an existing pavilion.

However, these were never progressed, with Trafford Council understood to be reluctant to grant the plans in their proposed form.

Now, the Trust and Hillcrest have returned with a fresh application, which has seen the size of the community centre scaled back and the architectural design rejigged.

The proposed community centre’s reduction in size means nearby trees can be retained, without the loss of a large amount of internal space.

The building is set to house a library, a multi-purpose events space, and a café. There will also be provision for a lounge for bowling club members, who are currently based in the existing pavilion on the site, which is accessed via Cecil Road.

This community centre will be funded by the redevelopment of the former library site into houses; this part of the application has also seem some changes, although will still include six detached houses, two apartments, and a retail unit fronting Leigh Road.

Hale Library

The existing library, which will be demolished

The semi-detached homes will front Addison Road, while the apartments will be above the retail unit. Changes to the design compared to the previous proposals include a reduction in the ridge height and gable roof pitch, and a reduction in the overall size of the properties.

The proposals have now gone on show at Hale Library on Leigh Road to allow residents to give their feedback.

Grahame Elliott, chairman of Hale Community Trust, said: “We have overwhelming support for this scheme from local residents and community groups and it was important that our consultation was transparent and inclusive.   We have taken care to address concerns and believe the new planning applications have benefitted enormously from the comments and suggestions put forward.

“The new flexible community space and library will provide a unique and welcome new focus for local residents, businesses and community groups in Hale.  We will ensure that the facilities provided will be high quality and accessible so that the whole community benefits from the new proposals.”

Managing director of Hillcrest Homes James Payne added: “We’re very grateful to everyone who took the time and trouble to provide their feedback on our proposals. We’ve emerged with a stronger proposal that does justice to this special location and will be an attractive addition to the streetscape, whilst providing the high-quality new homes that are much in demand in Hale.”

Hale Community Trust has previously been a vocal opponent to proposals at Brown Street, next to the village’s railway station. Here, Trafford Council has proposed 22 homes and a multi-storey car park, to be brought forward by developer Novo. More than half of the homes on the site are proposed as affordable.

The Community Trust employed its own planning consultant, highways consultant, and heritage team to review Novo’s proposals, arguing the scheme was “out of keeping” with locally-listed buildings.

However, Trafford Council’s planning committee approved the project in December.

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