Today, we took at leisurely ride out to the Quays, stopping off at Trafford Wharf and Promenade Park, taking a break while the kids played. Unfortunately, if TfGM and Metrolink have their way with the Trafford Park line, this will become a thing of the past.
As part of the Trafford Park Line, TfGM plan to remove Promenade Park and use much of Trafford Wharf for the Metrolink tracks as they go from Pomona to the Imperial War Museum North. Although a path along the waterfront will be maintained, it will be much narrower than the current path and will much less pleasant space.
This wasn’t always the plan. The original proposals for the line had it going down Trafford Wharf Road, a much more appropriate route. But TfGM changed the route to appease Kratos Analytical, who objected to it, claiming the vibration of the trams would interfere with their sensitive equipment.
For those that don’t know, Trafford Wharf was originally part of Trafford Park in the days when it was a “beautifully timbered deer park”. It became part of Manchester Docks when the Manchester Ship Canal was built and the de Trafford family, one of the largest land owners in Stretford, sold it.
Since the decline of Manchester Docks in the 1970s, various attempts have been made to improve Trafford Wharf. Most notably, with the building of the Imperial War Museum North, the recent relocation of ITV, and the installation of the Silent Cargo sculpture and Promenade Park.
Nowadays, the area from the Silent Cargo up to ITV is quite pleasant and well used. This varies from day to day use by commuters on bike and foot to MediaCityUK, runners making use of the Quays, to weekend leisure use by families. Weekend use increases massively when there’s matches on at Old Trafford, or events on at The Lowry, MediaCityUK or The Lowry Outlet Mall.
The area from Sam Platt’s to Trafford Road Bridge is in a poor state, not particularly accessible and less well used. This is much in need of redevelopment and for accessibility to be improved, especially to the recently renovated Bridgewater Way. Unlocking this area to create a through-route from the Bridgewater Way would have a massively positive impact on Trafford Wharf.
In April 2015, town hall bosses signed off £300m funding for the building of the line. Though recently, ITV have objected because ‘squealing wheels’ and ‘bad vibrations’ from passing trams could disrupt filming.
The next stage will be for TfGM to obtain a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) from the DfT to commence work. As part of this, a public enquiry will be carried out, due to start some time around July 2015. This will be the last opportunity to have a say in the plans, before TfGM get sign-off and construction begins.
If like me, you think TfGM have got it wrong with the routing of the Trafford Park Line and that Trafford Wharf and Promenade Park is worth saving, please get involved! Join the Save Trafford Wharf and Promenade Park Facebook group, follow @SaveTraffWharf on Twitter and object to the proposals in the public enquiry.