Trafford starts again with George H Carnall proposals

The proposed redevelopment of Urmston’s George H Carnall leisure centre into a £40m project featuring an arena for the Manchester Giants basketball team looks unlikely to go ahead after Trafford Council signalled it would be taking plans back to public consultation.

In February this year, then-leader of Trafford Council Sean Anstee outlined plans to redevelop the existing centre to house a 2,000-capacity arena for Manchester Giants, along with a new health centre, 60 affordable homes for key workers including nurses, social workers, and teachers.

Existing facilities were to be expanded and renovated to provide a club office and shop for the Giants, as well as community facilities and café.

An agreement was signed with the Giants to use George H Carnall for their home games on 3 May this year, allowing the team to use the site.

However, Trafford Council, which has since changed from a Conservative to Labour leadership, has now signalled its intention to bring the scheme back to the drawing board with a new development partner and a fresh public consultation.

According to a timeline set out in council documents, Trafford is looking for expressions of interest from development partners by the end of next month, while a public consultation will be carried out in January next year. Development partners will be invited to tender in March, with a partner chosen in June or July.

Sources close to the project suggested the idea of a new home for the Manchester Giants at George H Carnall was “dying, but not dead yet”, while the council said the arena was still potentially an option, and community views would be prioritised in the first instance.

The George H Carnall site will no longer be operated by the council once the new Urmston leisure centre, designed by architect 5plus, opens in early 2020.

The £6.4m project is to be built by Willmott Dixon, and is due to go to Trafford Council’s planning committee for approval next month, following a public consultation carried out last month. Construction is set to begin in 2019.

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