Crossford Bridge Playing Fields
More than 4,000 people signed a petition against the project

Trafford pulls support for Sale Sharks homecoming

Dan Whelan

The rugby union team’s plans to move back to the town after relocating in 2003 have been dealt a blow after Trafford Council withdrew its pre-planning support for the construction of a stadium at Crossford Bridge playing fields. 

Developer Crossfield Futures launched a public consultation in June on a proposal to redevelop the site between Cross Street and the Bridgewater Canal next to the M60, into a sports village featuring a 10,000-capacity stadium. 

However, following public feedback – including a petition against the proposals signed by more than 4,000 people – the council has decided to withdraw its support for the project. 

The club, which had been hoping to lodge a planning application later this year, said it was “disappointed by the political decision”. 

Andrew Western, leader of Trafford Council, said: “The council, along with Sale Sharks and Crossford Futures, approached the pre-planning application consultation for the project with the shared aim of listening closely to the local community. 

“Following the initial phase of consultation, we have taken the decision not to support the proposal. We share with Sale Sharks a desire to see them back in Sale in the future if a suitable site can be found.” 

Simon Orange, owner of Sale Sharks, said: “Our shared vision was to create a multi-sports community hub to inspire future generations and positively impact Sale through additional health, education and social inclusion programmes.

“We have made no secret that our long-held ambition is to return our elite men’s and women’s teams to our hometown of Sale, and further strengthen our community ties. Although disappointed by this political decision in the short term, we look forward to delivering a solution in future that puts our great fanbase and city region at the heart of it.” 

As well as the stadium, the Crossford Bridge Community Sports Village would have included a floodlit 4G pitch, a running track, grass pitches, community pavilion and children’s activity centre. 

Sharks moved from Heywood Road in Sale to Edgeley Park in Stockport in 2003, where the club shared the stadium with Stockport County FC. 

In 2012, the club relocated again, this time to the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford, which it currently shares with Super League side Salford City Reds. 

Your Comments

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‘It’s not coming home, coming home, Rugby’s not coming home…….!”

By D Baddiel

This lovely scenic playing fields are now saved. No sports village or stadium or anything should be built on here. This is used for dog walkers, joggers, 2football clubs with hundreds of players and nearby schools also use this site and people also going for a little walk. Protect our greenbelt.

By Darren born bred.


By Floyd

A disgrace. Classic NIMBY’s

By Anonymous

What a shame. short sighted, narrow minded NIMBYism at its worst

By Anonymous

Note to Ed.: Salford City Reds are now known as Salford Red Devils, despite the logo on the stadium being out of date.

By Bob

You live in Sale not Knutsford or Hale, get over yourselves NIMBYs.

By Big Dub

Council decides to protect green space after recognising its unmeasurable value to Trafford residents during months in lockdown and the knuckle draggers think that’s a bad thing and bleat “NIMBY”?? Oh boo hoo.


This is such a disappointment for Trafford community….this could be a great sporting venue.

By Joyce Eaton

A few predictable accusations of NIMBYISM on here, we support Sharks coming home, however as with any development it must be proportionate. The current site is home to multiple sports clubs already, have the people on here throwing negative accusations of NIMBYISM got suggestions of where those clubs can go? Have those people also got suggestions for traffic management to avoid huge impact on that motorway junction and surrounding residential streets on match days? Have those people got suggestions of how to replace the carbon sink function of this green space with hundreds of trees and access to further green areas? Instead of just reacting and throwing mud on the internet and comments sections of websites, why not think things through first and come with solutions. I’m a Sale resident and I love Sale Sharks but anyone can see that site needs to be left alone to be enjoyed as it is and with the relatively low impact it has on local residents.

By Jack