The Irish developer has lodged its application to build one of the North West’s first man-made surfing complexes and targets a 2023 opening subject to consent.
The £60m facility called Modern Surf would be constructed at a brownfield site off Barton Dock Road in TraffordCity that is owned and managed by Peel L&P and is currently used to store containers.
Under McKinney Group’s plans, it would be transformed into a “world-class” surfing facility with a surf lake powered by Wavegarden, which manufactures wave-generating technologies, alongside a café and restaurant, pop-up beach, surf shop and changing facilities.
There would also be a fitness zone including a halfpipe skateboarding area, bouldering facility, and other activity spaces at the site.
The project is being billed as the North West’s first inland man-made surf complex – elsewhere in the region, a leisure provider called GoSurf is working with Sefton Council to progress £40m plans for a surf resort and 250-metre beach with hotel accommodation, restaurants and a spa at the Merseyside coastal town of Southport.
McKinney’s scheme is earmarked to open by 2023 subject to planning permission from Trafford Council. A total of 85% of respondents to a public consultation in January backed the proposals, according to McKinney.
The developer’s managing director Billy McKinney said: “We have submitted our plans to [the council] off the back of months of discussions with the local community, stakeholders and planning officers and, of course, our online consultation at the start of the year.
“TraffordCity already has a huge and growing leisure offer and we are looking forward to bringing something new to the area that is thrilling, interactive and accessible to be enjoyed by surfers of all abilities.”
The project supports Peel L&P’s ongoing ambitions to “make TraffordCity one of the most experiential retail and leisure destinations in the UK”, added James Whittaker, executive development director at the established landowner and developer. TraffordCity is already home to the Trafford Centre retail mall, Chill Factore indoor ski slope, replacement SoccerDome facility and other leisure attractions.
Leslie Jones Architecture is the lead architect that designed the surf scheme and Exterior Architecture is the landscape advisor. Lambert Smith Hampton is McKinney’s planning advisor.
LSH director Paul Shuker said: “This development will complement the existing leisure offer and regenerate one of the last remaining brownfield sites in TraffordCity, helping to complete the area.
“We predict the scheme will bring a huge boost to the local tourism sector, with more than 350,000 extra visitors to TraffordCity, generating over £18m a year.As well a boost to tourism, it will create up to 240 permanent jobs once open, directly and indirectly, and a further 60 jobs during construction.”
Surfing is growing in popularity globally, and the complex “will put Greater Manchester on the surfing circuit for local, national and international competitions”, Shuker added.
McKinney was founded in Belfast in 1885 and has since grown to become a specialist out-of-town retail developer in Europe, Brazil and China.