An outline planning application for the overhaul of Stretford Mall is expected by the summer, although developer Bruntwood said the process was still “a totally blank sheet of paper” at a consultation event this weekend.
The latest round of consultation held by Bruntwood and joint venture partner Trafford Council looked at possible uses for Stretford Mall, bought by the partnership as part of a wider £50m deal last September, as well as the importance of connecting the site to surrounding highways and public realm.
Among the options being put forward for the mall are ways to attract more independent local businesses to the area; improving lifestyle and leisure offerings; and possible residential development, along with offices and commercial.
Speaking to Place North West, Bruntwood director Andrew Cooke said responses from the public had ranged from calls for the mall to be totally demolished, to it being saved and more independent retail uses incorporated, as well as potentially residential alongside it.
The development of Stretford Mall is being brought forward as part of the wider Stretford masterplan, with the council and Bruntwood also considering the future of other town centre sites, such as Station Approach, the waterfront, King Street and Barton Road.
Responses to earlier consultations show public demand for a “major need” to renovate the town centre.
In order to bring forward the wider Stretford masterplan, the council is creating an an area action plan for the mall and surrounding area, similar to its approach for the Civic Quarter masterplan.
The action plan area includes what is being shaped as four neighbourhoods; Victoria, Stretford House which includes the Mall, St Ann’s and Lacy Street.
The area action plan is a formal process, requiring several stages of consultation and sign-off from a Government planning inspector, but it enables the masterplan to have a strong legal standing, allowing the council to use compulsory purchase powers if needed to bring forward development.
The grade two-listed Essoldo building and its surroundings are included in the masterplan. The Essoldo has been vacant since 1995, and the council has previously signalled its plans to use CPO powers to acquire the building in order to refurbish it.
Bruntwood and the council bought Stretford Mall in September from M&M Asset Management. M&M had already embarked on a major overhaul of the plot, demolishing around 61,000 sq ft of vacant retail space and bringing in a popular foodhall.
Trafford Council is bidding for funding from Government’s £675m Future High Streets Fund, which could see it awarded up to £25m for Stretford.
Bruntwood is working with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and Exterior Architecture.