Trafford spend on failed Turn Moss project revealed

Trafford Council spent more than £160,000 of public money on controversial plans to build a football training ground and new facilities on Turn Moss in Stretford, before scrapping the proposals in May, according to a Freedom of Information request.

The plans, which attracted a record number of objections from the public, were pulled by Trafford Council leader Cllr Andrew Western on his first day in office following local elections last May.

The Council’s previous Conservative administration had supported the plans to bring forward a training ground for Salford City FC, including four training pitches, an office, and a gym converted from an existing storage facility.

There were also proposals for a new floodlit pitch for public use alongside a café, children’s play area, and changing facilities. The plans were being brought forward in partnership with Gary Neville’s UA92.

These proposals were objected to by Trafford’s Labour, Lib Dem, and Green groups, and a consultation on the plans had to be extended after more than 1,800 local residents and campaigners signalled their opposition.

A Freedom of Information request by Place North West has revealed the council spent more than £160,000 on professional fees on the project before it was scrapped.

The council paid 26 consultants a total of £162,306 for their role on the development, including project manager Zerum, planner How, M&E consultant Charles Andrews, transport planner Vectos, and landscape architect Re-form.

Typical procurement routes and public contract regulations were not applied to these professional roles, meaning they did not have to be advertised publically via normal channels including OJEU and The Chest. However, they were procured in accordance with the council’s constitution.

If the plans had gone ahead, the works were estimated to cost the council around £2.5m, up from an initial estimate of £1.5m.

Last May, campaign group Friends of Turn Moss committee member Nixon Tod welcomed Western’s move to pull the plans, stating: “We believe it’s the correct decision to withdraw the flawed plans. The drainage strategy would have been a disaster for the grassroots teams, it’s a real victory for local people.

“There is funding out there to improve Turn Moss for everyone, better facilities for the footballers is a priority, it needs to stay green belt and free for all to use.”

Western has since pledged to bring forward a “community-led” proposal on the site, although details of this have yet to be revealed.

A spokesman for Trafford Council said: “The Council is in positive communications with the Friends of Turn Moss over future plans for the site. We will be in  a position to release more information in the near future.”

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£160k isn’t a lot these days. Reflecting on the situation, it’s a shame how the consultation was handled. With more engagement from the community and more consideration for managing flood water, this good have been a great scheme. Maybe £160k wasn’t enough..?

By Superhans

replying to Superhans – ‘more engagement from the community’?? There was massive engagement – that’s why the scheme failed – the proposal involved ‘privatising’ almost a third of Turn Moss which didn’t go down well with local people. Now Friends of Turn Moss (working with Trafford Council and other funding bodies) are organising to improve sports facilities, replant hedges, and explore a managed wetlands project. If you want to help then contact us on Facebook or twitter @ourturnmoss

By Anonymous

Would you like to turn your excellent journalistic skills in the direction of the Save Carrington Moss campaign? Thanks

By Christine Taylor

Nimbys, Turn Moss is a dump as it is. Miseries.

By Dan

Middle class Nibbys from Chorlton stopped a great facility which could have benefited working class kids in Stretford.

By Lenny1968

It wasn’t just flood water management that was the problem Superhans. The project managers, Zerum, failed to identify a major site constraint….. the network of HP gas pipelines under Turn Moss. This huge error would have invalidated the whole planning application. Money wasn’t the problem, the problem was trying force through a politically motivated project onto a site that just wasn’t suitable. £160k may not be a lot in the great scheme of things, but it would have paid for the necessary refurbishment of the changing rooms. As it is it’s been squandered on a scheme that was never feasible, with some of it going to a firm Gary Neville is a director of (Zerum).

By Anonymous

@Anonymous what I meant was the developer should have engaged the community earlier, when their was still opportunity to reach a solution which may achieve some of Friends of Turn Moss/community objectives. Both the developer and Friends of Turn Moss were short-sighted (or blinded) to the possibility of a mutually beneficial middle-ground. I’ve heard all the arguments that ‘Gary Neville would never listen’ etc, and that may be true, but I also see that as a partial failure that FoTM for creating such a negative hysteria on social media.

I wish FoTM best of luck with the ‘improved sports facilities, replanting hedges, managed wetlands project’, but if I’m honest, I doubt it will happen. It would have happened far quicker if it was delivered as part of an amended proposal with Gary Neville backing.

By Anonymous

£160k could have been used as a contribution to the “so called” costs incurred by green waste collection. Before we start (or should I say the council) start spending money maybe more transparency is needed. Behind the smoke and mirrors this was a training ground for Salford FC – no more or less. Why does every development have to be sports related. Why not extend Turn Moss into an overall green oasis for not only wetland purposes but wildlife in general – examples in Speyside have seen massive increases in wildlife, fauna and flora. Why do we need more playing fields – the Massive areas of Hough End and Wythenshawe park are occupied by a portion of previous years. I agree with the earlier contributor – Carrington Moss is unique and should also be saved

By Annonymous

As pointed out above, the NIMBYism of Chorlton’s selfish, middle-class few has deprived the working class kids of Stretford an amazing opportunity of having an elite sports team and elite-level facility on their doorstep; and deprived girls of having their own dedicated changing facilities. All this to mollify a handful of dog-walkers who want to preserve the whole of their world in aspic, in perpetuity. A very sad episode for all involved.

By St. Retford

@ St.Retford – many in Stretford objected to the proposals too don’t forget. That the developer failed to make a convincing argument regarding the project’s benefits, is not the fault of objectors from Chorlton or anywhere else. TM is a poor resource and it’s hard to understand how the developer managed to make their scheme seem worse than what’s there now. But they did. They own the failure.

By Bob Allatt

Middle class people in Chorlton? You’ve got to be kidding me surely, it’s a dump of takeaways and rough pubs. Hardly Altrincham

By Shakeel

Superhans… no amount of community engagement would have got round the fact that there are HP gas pipelines under Turn Moss, and it is a Flood zone 3. No amount of waffle could have got round these real site constraints that were either not identified at the feasibility stage, or not understood. The objections from the statutory consultants (EA) could not be overcome because the site was not suitable for what was being proposed. This should have been established before £160k was wasted.

Many commentators seem to belief that Gary Neville would have sorted all this no problem. No chance…. if you’re developers can’t spot a HP gas pipeline marker on a site visit they shouldn’t be trusted to build a shed!

By Mike

Looks edgy and creative, like the northern quarter (which isn”t just a load of bars honest, honest, HONEST).

Can’t wait for the new level of edginess to out-edge the current high levels of edginess.

By The Edge is Fine

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