TraffordCity site mooted for £60m surf complex

Belfast-based developer McKinney Group is hatching plans to build the region’s first inland surfing lagoon and other adventure facilities on land owned by Peel L&P.

The developer is preparing to launch a consultation on the proposals next year, followed by a planning application for the £60m project on a brownfield site, a former container base, off Barton Dock Road in Trafford Park, Greater Manchester. It already lodged a scoping document with Trafford Council last week.

The scheme proposes a surfing lagoon operated by Wavegarden – a company that specialises in man-made wave generating technologies – together with bar and restaurant facilities and other interactive attractions for visitors, as well as a pump track and fitness zone, half-pipe skateboarding area, bouldering and balancing zones.

The complex, called Modern Surf Manchester, would enable surf beginners, learners and professionals to test their skills. Subject to planning permission, the facility would open by 2023.

The site is part of Peel L&P’s TraffordCity mixed-use development, which houses the Trafford Centre shopping mall and a further 3.5m sq ft of retail, leisure and commercial space.

The landowner’s nearby 300,000 sq ft conference and events centre, EventCity, is to close next March, and plans to reopen the facility in a different location have been scrapped.

The site that would house Modern Surf Manchester is also close to leisure operator Therme Group’s planned £250m leisure resort in Trafford Park, which is also scheduled to open in 2023, with an anticipated start-on-site date of early next year.

The architect for the project is Leslie Jones Architects and the planning consultancy is Lambert Smith Hampton. The landscape architect is Exterior Architecture.

Wavegarden is headquartered in northern Spain and operates surfing lagoons in other locations including South Korea, Melbourne, Bristol and Snowdonia. It has three in construction at present, one in Switzerland and two in Brazil.

Billy McKinney, managing director at McKinney Group, said: “This is a really exciting project to be bringing to Greater Manchester.

“On the back of becoming an Olympic sport, surfing is growing in popularity and our plans will deliver perfect and consistent waves to TraffordCity and build on the region’s excellent and world-leading sporting assets.

“As well as the clear financial benefits the proposals will deliver, Modern Surf Manchester will provide significant health and wellbeing benefits. Water-based sports can have a huge positive impact on physical and mental wellbeing, so I am looking forward to opening more opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to get involved in surfing.”

James Whittaker, executive development director at Peel L&P, added: “We’re pleased to be working in partnership with McKinney Group on the plans, which will bring something unique to the already strong leisure offering.

“Alongside Therme Manchester, Modern Surf Manchester will be another fantastic leisure attraction to TraffordCity that will complement surrounding businesses.”

Elsewhere in the region, Sefton Council is working with operator Go Surf to plot a £40m water park and surfing lagoon on the seafront at Southport.

Your Comments

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Good location for a shopping centre and exhibition centre even, but not for something like this.


Is this to compete with the proposed Southport surfing scheme?

By Denby

Fantastic for GM. With this and Therme complex close by its turning into a real destination, helps also that it is now on the transport network.

By Bob

Trafford City is just getting better and better. What vision for this area! To think what is was like, say, 20 years ago. An amazing asset for Manchester and the North West. Can’t wait to have these water based activities close by serving a large in-land city! Just needs a beach & some huts (please!)

By Wow

The Trafford Centre is basically turning into a theme park/leisure destination in order to supply the changing demand. I don’t have any issues with this, but it would have been better if they kept the spa/surfing stuff near to the Quays/Media City.

By Anonymous

When I was a kid I’d watch the ships coming up the ship canal near Barton – often catch a cold, I’ll catch a wave now. Great news if it happens? Get the surf beads out….


Where oh where, do you presume the excessive traffic will go? The M60 junctions for the Trafford Centre are already congested with the facilities already up and running and Trafford park. I live in Urmston and I struggle getting in and out of the area around and on the motorway. By all means build things but please please please build the extra roads in first to accommodate the traffic…we are already congested around here especially in the morning and from 2pm…It’s ridiculous

By Wilkinson

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