The landowner is courting developers to help it bring it forward a trio of sites that would deliver the first 400 of 3,000 homes of the £1bn project on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal.
The residential schemes being planned include one part-affordable, part-open market development; one project focussed on care and senior living accommodation, and one build-to-rent scheme that Peel L&P would bring forward itself with the backing of a funding institution, the company’s executive director of development James Whittaker told Place North West.
Peel L&P secured outline consent in 2018 for Trafford Waters, a mixed-use scheme on a 63-acre development site it owns opposite the Trafford Centre. The scheme is expected to take two decades to complete.
However, the developer has since been unable to progress the project pending an agreement with local councils on the operational costs of the A57 Salford Western Gateway bridge, a lifting bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal that forms part of the wider £32m Western Gateway Infrastructure Scheme and connects Peel’s TraffordCity to Salford, in the middle of the Trafford Waters site.
Now, the group has agreed in principle to fund the annual operational costs of the bridge, expected to amount to around £300,000 a year. “We hope to have a finalised agreement in the next few months,” Whittaker told media earlier this week.
The agreement with Salford City Council and Trafford Council – both of which declined to comment further on the potential deal beyond saying “discussions are progressing, but no final decision has been made” – would unlock the site for development and enable Peel L&P to resume work to progress Trafford Waters.
Under the plans, the site is to deliver 3,000 homes, around 800,000 sq ft of commercial space, 125,000 sq ft of retail, food & beverage space, a primary school and 300 hotel bedrooms across one or two properties. The development is planned to benefit from the Trafford Metrolink extension into Trafford and Manchester city centre, as well as a new road junction at Junction 10 of the M60.
Whittaker told Place North West that, while it awaits completion of the bridge agreement, the company had held pre-application meetings with Trafford Council on proposals for the first phase of residential development, to total around 400 homes.
Peel L&P has also begun talking with third-party developers interested in bringing forward the first two schemes – the half-affordable, half-open market housing, and the senior living and care project. Delivery agreements have yet to be signed. The prospective partners are understood to be local rather than national developers.
“With a good wind, and subject to the bridge deal finalising, we would hope to submit planning applications for these schemes later this year and start construction in 2022,” Whittaker said. The first two projects would likely complete by mid-2023, while the build-to-rent comprising around 200 homes would follow a two-year construction programme and complete the following year.
The development cost of these first projects would be around £75m, Whittaker added. Delivery of the rest of Trafford Waters would be phased over up to 20 years and slot into the ongoing regeneration of Peel’s wider TraffordCity neighbourhood. This includes the £250m Therme Manchester leisure complex, £60m Wavegarden surf hub proposed by McKinney Group, a £2m footfall centre featuring eight FA-size pitches, and the replacement Soccerdome.
“We still see healthy demand for the full range of uses that Trafford Waters and the wider TraffordCity neighbourhood are set to offer,” Whittaker said. “Covid has made people think differently about city centre offices, and the future could now be about shifting to out-of-city centre locations that are well connected and have homes, shops, leisure amenities on their doorstep.
“We believe there will be significant office requirements among companies ‘north shoring’ and others looking for headquarters in this type of location, and that is how we will pitch the commercial element of Trafford Waters to prospective occupiers.”