Urmston Leisure Centre August 2018
5plus Architects designed the refurbishment of Urmston Leisure Centre

Trafford leisure centre plans ditched due to Covid

Dan Whelan

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. 

Great Stone Road B&Q Resi Accrue

Accrue has twice had plans for a resi scheme on the former B&Q site refused

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.  

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There are enough anyway

By PDM

This makes absolutely no sense, Trafford Council out of touch with its residents yet again and doing things on the cheap.

By Healthy Bodies Healthy Minds

That’s a real shame. Both Stretford and Sale leisure centres are bleak places and well past their best. Hope they get more than a lick of paint.

By Bob Allatt

Same news for Altrincham. Could they not combine and have a brand new Sale and Altrincham leisure centre?

The existing Alty facility is absolutely dreadful (swimming pool is disgusting) and reminds me of really bad facilities from the ’80’s. (which is probably when it last had a lick of paint)

Sadly the Council leaders are not up to leading and we see all the good work of the previous administration going to waste.

Unfortunately there is a dearth of quality in local politics (who would want to put themselves up for it given the nastiness they all get) and therefore councils and their residents suffer the consequences…

By Alty Resident

So, when we’ve all been reminded how important our health is, during this pandemic, the council then use it as an excuse not to provide up-to-date health facilities to it’s residents, rather than the dated (in terms of facilities and equipment) existing leisure centres? The council really need to get their priorities right.

By Anon

Instead of blaming the council, try blaming the awful government which has given us 10 years of austerity and are planning even bigger cuts to local govt in future.

By Graham

Councils need to take ownership and partner with best private sector operators to deliver health and leisure facilities that residents want. So easy to make cheap comments blaming the Government but local Councils have the power and money to deliver but do they have the vision?

By David