I’ve lived in Sale for 15 years, during which time there hasn’t been a great deal of change – certainly no visible signs of any significant investment, writes Paul Smith of Strategic Land Group.
Shops have come and go – as has been the case in most high streets – although Sale has seen a recent, very welcome surge of independents opening along Northenden Road.
It would be fair to say that Sale has seen very little in the way of genuine transformation for more than a decade, although new plans currently in the pipeline, with Planit-IE working with the Council on much-needed public realm improvements, will have a hugely positive impact. Maloneview has also recently secured planning permission for a long overdue overhaul of the outdated shopping centre.
However, while the works on public realm and the revitalisation of the shopping centre are welcome improvements to the town, which is undoubtedly in need of investment, there’s more that could be done.
The A56/Washway Road would be a good place to start. The road is the main arterial route through Sale, but looks dire – flanked predominantly by scruffy, under-used buildings with lots of crumbling tarmac. It certainly doesn’t give the right first impression! The difficulties in crossing also acts to sever the Ashton-on-Mersey side of Sale from the main town centre. There is significant scope to improve the road – and surrounding route- dramatically, with more green planting, segregated cycle routes and improved crossing facilities.
Permitting higher buildings with residential development above on either side of the road could help to fund the improvements, while delivering increased footfall to support a thriving town centre.
In particular, the introduction of dedicated cycle routes would make a huge difference – on either side of the A56, quiet roads are well-suited for cycling, connecting to the towpath along the Bridgewater Canal, which will take you into the city centre in around half an hour.
The towpath also connects into other attractive, useful cycle routes, taking you along the Mersey Valley to Chorlton in one direction, and out into the Cheshire plain around Dunham and Lymm in the other. With better links, segregated routes and improvements to the A56, Sale could be Greater Manchester’s most cycling-friendly town.
Sale is a great place to live and it’s fantastic to see improvements taking place, however if the town is to truly achieve its potential, it needs a focused, long-term plan of action and the will to make it happen.