Brown Street Hale Updated CGI December 2018

Hale residents and council face off over Brown Street plans

Charlie Schouten

Despite fierce opposition, Novo’s proposals for a £6m development on a brownfield site next to Hale Station, which has attracted nearly 250 objections including from local MP Graham Brady and the area’s civic society, is recommended for approval at Trafford Council’s planning committee next week.

Novo’s proposals, brought forward in partnership with Trafford Council, are for 22 homes and a multi-storey car park on the Brown Street car park site next to the village’s station.

Designed by architect Project3, the scheme features 10 houses in a brick-clad block along with a four-storey apartment building of 12 homes. More than half of the homes on the site are proposed as affordable and will be available for shared ownership, managed by Southway Housing Trust.

A two-storey car park features 67 spaces, linked to the red brick-clad block; 10 of the spaces are allocated for the homes leaving 57 available for public use. CPUK is attached as main contractor, and the professional team also includes Civic Engineers and Planit-IE.

Planners have recommended the scheme for approval despite fierce opposition from local groups as well as local MP Graham Brady. Cllr Patricia Young, one of the scheme’s objectors, had requested it be heard at committee; she is married to Cllr Michael Young, an Altrincham ward councillor who has signalled his objections to a number of new-build projects in the local area.

Local objections

Accusations levelled at the project include the fact it includes “fancy flats not affordable homes”, despite 55% of the homes in the scheme being for shared ownership; the council has also been accused of “selling assets for short term financial gain without considering the long-term losses to the community”.

Another objection states: “Altrincham was once busy and vibrant, a combination of the Trafford Centre and sale of the land used for free parking led to it declining massively to what it is today: a sad and bleak place filled with ‘to let’ boards. It is hoped history will not repeat itself with Hale”.

The developers and the council have also been accused of “a lack of public consultation”, and “very little publicity” around any consultation event,  although one was held on 22 August this year, as reported by Place North West.

Two councillors, Cllr Patricia Young and Cllr Alan Mitchell, signalled their opposition to the scheme, criticising its scale and massing, and its proximity to the Hale Station Conservation Area.  Cllr Mitchell also pointed to a “lack of consultation publicity” and added he was “perturbed by the lack of re-tender” after changes were made to the original proposals.

Brown Street Hale Updated CGI December 2018 2

Hale Community Trust and the Civic Society have even gone as far as to employ their own planning consultant, highways consultant, and heritage team to review Novo and the council’s application. These representations argued the scheme was contrary to Trafford’s development plan, and “out of keeping” with locally-listed buildings.

The developer has argued the proposals would contribute “towards the acute need for housing in Trafford and the local area” as well as “upgrading and future-proofing the public car parking facility to ensure this valuable asset is retained in the longer term for the benefit of the wider community”.

Trafford Council planning officers have sided with the developer in this case to recommend the project for approval, despite the high level of objections to the scheme.

While admitting the proposals would result in “moderate harm” to nearby heritage assets, planners argued this would not outweigh the public benefits of the scheme – particularly the affordable housing, which exceeds the 40% provision target for the council on the site.

Planners recommend approval

The planners’ report said: “The numerous representations which raise concerns about the impact of the development of the vitality and viability of Hale district centre are acknowledged and have been carefully considered.

“It is only natural that local businesses and interest groups would be concerned if the district centre were to suffer an adverse impact as a result of these proposals.

“However, it is considered that all the available evidence would suggest that these concerns are unfounded and that there is no reasonable basis on which harm to the vitality and viability of the district centre as a result of these proposals would represent a justifiable reason for refusal of the application.”

On the car parking issues, the planners’ report notes that the local highway authority has removed its objection to the scheme following some amendments, while car parking surveys had been carried out on the existing Brown Street site to show it had an average parking occupancy of 46%, or 37 spaces. Other car parks in the area, at Victoria Road and Cecil Road, were also found to be less than 70% full on average when surveyed.

“Given the current usage of Brown Street car park, it is considered that the loss of 23 car parking space would only infrequently impact on the ability to find a space in the car park”, said planners. “It is considered that there is sufficient parking capacity elsewhere in the district centre to absorb the loss of these spaces.”

Concluding the report, planners said there was “no clear reason for refusing the development” under the National Planning Policy Framework, and recommended that committee approves the scheme when it meets next week.

This meeting is due to take place at 6pm on Thursday 13 December at Trafford Town Hall in Stretford.

Your Comments

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bit harsh on Alty! Was there for the first time in ages on Sunday and it seemed pretty lively!

By Huey

I assume this is just typical Hale snobs not wanting affordable houses in their area.

By Alan

Councillors Young are playing party politics to make the new administration look bad

By Politiker

Affordable housing will bring the area down. Hale is a jewel in Cheshire’s crown, the finest county in the North. Good people live here as the house prices are high. Where is the incentive for people to better themselves if were giving away homes in our best areas on the cheap?

By Finchy

here here Finchy…

By Raptor

There is precedent for this next door developed by Crosby 15 years ago and Jones 20+ years ago on Brown Street. Its an underutilized asset that makes sense being developed in this way. Party politics at play from the party that wants housing delivery but not in its backyard?

By taxed

Outrageous Finchy, outrageous but funny. Shared ownership homes allow purchasers with a smaller deposit to get their foot on the ladder. I know a lot of ‘good people’ in Hale who have kids that can’t afford to stay in the area. How is this a bad thing, or do you have to ‘better yourself’ before becoming a Hale resident

By A non bias developer

The answer here is going to yes as the site is being sold by the council .

By Tannoy

Residents on Brown Street have not enough parking spaces and living in Rostherne Court I have nowhere to park even though I live on Brown Street I am no allowed a parking permit ! The council seem to thrive on chaos

By D Casserley

Same old story. Council recommends approval based on policy. Planning Committee and (and local MP in this case) will reject it because they need to be voted in and these 250 objectors will be influential. Hale is full of NIMBY’s so best of luck to Novo.

Probably win on appeal.

By Planning Critic

Funny how Brown Street Car Park had over 100% occupancy when it was free to park there….

By Tony

Oh!! All the luvvies in Hale!! All pro this and pro that but when anything happens in their back yard it’s NO NO NO!!!

By Gregory

Finchy. Cheshire is a bit like a Manc or Scouse Essex and you really don’t want to be bragging about that.

By Elephant

Here we go. Just so predictable! Hale needs free car park somewhere!!! There is a clear link between the station free car park made payable and Hale shops closing. People have been parking in our street as a consequence which isn’t a big deal but others just don’t bother coming anymore which is why the car park which used to be full before it became payable is now only under half way full.
Common sense!!! yes to new flats but with free car parking space for everyone.
Think long term!!!

By Christine

It’s a positive move. More homes are needed
And it’s the future.
And no one likes Change.

By Mrs Maria Howell

Transport Oriented Development at its best. Dense apartments close to the centre of Hale and Hale station and walking distance from the supermarkets, restaurants and interchange at Altrincham.

By Transport Oriented

Ha Ha – “Hale a Jewel in Cheshire’s Crown !” – Don’t make me laugh or was the poster being Sarcastic? – Spent plenty of time in Hale as a non resident, possibly the worst High Street in the North of England, No real shops just overpriced restaurants and bars full of snobs and wannabes along with Estate Agents selling little houses for the equivalent of 10 -20 years decent salary or big houses for lottery wins, and at one end of the street – one of the worst hotels in Britain. Let me assure you that are far nicer places to live not only in Cheshire but also in Lancashire and Merseyside. Hales not that Great!’

By Outsider

Its quite clear, all the Hale haters leaving bitter, jealous comments because they cant afford to live here, have not actually read the 250 objections. Most of these make valid points, parking is an absolute nightmare for residents without a drive. I quite often arrive home late in the evening and cannot park anywhere near my home, yet the council say “It is considered that there is sufficient parking capacity elsewhere in the district centre to absorb the loss of these spaces.” This idiotic council is blinded by short term gains and cannot see the long term impact of their actions!

By Paul

This is the most unwanted building in Hale. It received an unprecedented 300+ objections from local people and business who regard this as an offensive and intrusive building, far out of keeping with the character of our village that will add to parking problems in the area. Only councillors from outside the area voted in favour to support their agreed objective to use the land to raise money for investment elsewhere in Trafford.

By Allan Carton