Plans for a new-build facility in Stretford are “no longer financially viable” due to the pandemic, the council said, paving the way for a residential development at the former B&Q site on Great Stone Road.
The site was originally earmarked to deliver a new leisure centre for the borough.
Trafford Council said it has reviewed its leisure centre strategy amid “increasing cost pressures on the health and social care system, and the emergence of Covid-related financial pressures” on both the council and its leisure operator Trafford Leisure, and subsequently scrapped plans for new centres in Stretford and Altrincham.
In a report to the council’s executive, the authority said: “In light of the financial uncertainty, the potential escalating costs and development risks, plus the long-term effects of the pandemic on the leisure economy, the previous rebuild options for Stretford and Altrincham leisure centres are no longer considered financially viable.”
Instead, the council is planning to refurbish its existing leisure centres in the towns, as well as another in Sale, the report said.
The borough’s existing facilities “suffer from a long period of under-investment” and require significant work to extend their lifespan. The planned refurbishment of the leisure estate would aim to emulate the success of the £7m refurbishment of Urmston Leisure Centre, since rebranded as Move Urmston, which completed in March 2020 and has been praised since.
Trafford Council has also changed its stance on the planned redevelopment of the former B&Q site on Great Stone Road, which was earmarked for conversion into a leisure centre.
The council had been readying compulsory purchase powers to acquire the site from developer Accrue Capital to pave the way for a leisure centre as part of its Civic Quarter masterplan.
However, it is now understood that a residential development is the most likely outcome for the plot, as outlined in the council’s Civic Quarter Area Action Plan.
Accrue Capital has twice had plans for an apartment complex on the site refused by the council.