My response to the revised Stretford Masterplan

Trafford are asking for responses to the revised masterplan for Stretford and the elements within it, via an online questionnaire. There’s also an offline version that can be downloaded and filled out. The deadline for responses is 19 December 2017.

You can read more about what’s covered in the revised masterplan in my other post UA92 proposals and the revised Stretford Masterplan.

The following is my response to the proposed masterplan and the questions asked in the questionnaire. Although this is very much my view. I am happy for anyone to use my responses themselves, whether or not they fully agree with me.

Unfortunately, the council have used the same trick they did with the public realm consultation by weighting the questions so heavily that they’re almost guaranteed a majority of positive responses.

Many of the questions contain multiple positive responses and only a single negative response. So you need to make sure you chose your responses carefully. The council are already quoting numbers for positive survey responses at some of the meetings.

My responses

2. Do you agree with the objective that Stretford is in need of revitalizing, regenerating and investing in?

  • Yes – something needs to change

3. Please choose from the following statements the one which most closely reflects your view:

  • I disagree with the proposals put forward in the Stretford Masterplan and am not yet convinced of how it will benefit the area

Additional comments:

While I broadly support a revised masterplan for Stretford, I cannot support this masterplan for a number of reasons. I am supportive of the creation of UA92 and the use of the old Kellogg’s site, but I have a number of concerns that haven’t been addressed in the masterplan.

The masterplan lacks vision to tackle the issues facing Stretford and doesn’t give any guarantees to address any potential negative aspects a university and student population in the area could bring.

I am particularly concerned about the potential loss of dedicated public leisure facilities and what appears to be the selling off of public green space for private use.

I believe the way the council has engaged with the community, including the way this survey has been heavily weighted to give a positive response makes the council look disingenuous when it says it wants to consult the local community.

In addition to this, although the council appear to want to answer questions and concerns of local residents, actually getting answers to any questions has proved to very difficult.

Town Centre (including Stretford Mall)

Town-Centre
Stretford Mall

We are proposing to:

  • Demolish the southern side of Stretford Mall
  • Introduce new spaces for restaurants, bars and cafes
  • Improve the leisure and family-orientated facilities that are available
  • Improve community facilities
  • Provide additional living accommodation

4. In terms of the proposals for developing the town centre, please indicate which statement most closely reflects your opinion:

  • I disagree with the proposals to develop the town centre

Additional comments:

While I support the objectives for the town centre, in terms of retail and leisure improvements, spaces for restaurants, bars and cafes, living accommodation and improved community facilities. The lack of any clear vision, details or ambition for what a future town centre would be like means I cannot support what’s in the masterplan.

I think the council need to develop a bold plan for the town centre that addresses the many issues it currently faces, including the problems caused by the A56. Right now, this doesn’t exist.

University Academy ’92 (UA92)

UA92
Visualisation of proposed UA92 campus

The Refreshed Masterplan proposes the:

  • Establishment of a new higher education facility in Stretford in partnership with Lancaster University and Microsoft
  • Development of the Kellogg’s office site form the UA92 education campus

5. In terms of the proposals to launch UA92 in Trafford (in 2019) and in partnership with Lancaster University and Microsoft:

  • I agree with the overall idea of UA92 but have some suggestions/concerns about the impact on Trafford

Additional comments:

I am supportive of the creation of UA92, though I do have concerns about the impact a large student population could have. Whilst I welcome students moving to the area and see how a student population could benefit the area, there can be downsides too.

I believe we need commitment from the council that they will do everything within their powers to regulate private landlords and HMOs, to ensure the area isn’t turned over to student rentals.

6. In terms of redeveloping the former Kellogg’s site on Talbot Road as UA92 University Campus buildings:

  • I agree with the overall idea of UA92 but have some suggestions/concerns about the impact on the local area

Additional comments:

I am supportive of the redevelopment of the Kellogg’s site on Talbot Rd for the UA92 campus, though I’m concerned about the number of car parking spaces included in the proposals and want to know what will to encourage people to use active travel or public transport, rather than car. In particular, what provision for cycle parking will there be?

Essoldo

Essoldo
The Essoldo

The Refreshed Masterplan proposes the:

  • Provision of a mix of residential accommodation around the Essoldo building
  • Creation of a vibrant hub for the whole community to use
  • Including some student facilities
  • Opening up of access onto the canal

7. In terms of the proposals for the Essoldo building please indicate which statement most closely reflects your views:

  • I disagree with the proposals to bring the Essoldo back into use

Additional comments:

While I support the aims of creating a mix of residential accommodation around the Essoldo building, opening up the canal and creating a hub for the community, I cannot support the proposals in the masterplan.

Although the masterplan talks about the potential of using the Essoldo as a community hub, there are no guarantees that this will happen and I would not support the Essoldo being used solely for the use of students.

Lacy Street Site

Lacy Street
Proposed plans for Lacy Street site

The Refreshed Masterplan proposes the:

  • Delivery of high-quality student accommodation linked to UA92
  • Introduction of a mix of commercial spaces on the ground floor (café/bar etc)
  • Create of a large landscaped area
  • Opening up of the area onto the Bridgewater canal to access the water from the Town Centre

8. In terms of the proposals for the accommodation on Lacy Street site please indicate which statement most closely reflects your views:

  • I disagree with the proposals to develop the Lacy Street site

Additional comments:

While I have no objections to the principle of providing student accommodation on the Lacy Street site, I do not support the proposals that have been shared thus far. 

The masterplan talks about creating a ‘landmark building’, but the visualisations appear to be anything but. Although such things can be subjective. Without any guarantees, I am concerned we will end up with something as mediocre as the Rowlinson’s Pomona Wharf development.

Although we’ve been assured no parking spaces will be provided. The proposals do actually include some parking spaces on the Nelson Street accommodation. Why have these been included?

Where cycle parking has been shown in the proposals, it’s completely inadequate for the number of students. There needs to be substantially more cycle parking spaces provided to encourage students to cycle rather than drive.

9. In terms of the general proposals for the Lacy Street site please indicate which statement most closely reflects your views:

  • I disagree with the proposals to develop the Lacy Street site

Additional comments:

While I support the development of the Lacy Street site, I don’t believe the current proposals are appropriate. I support the site being used for residential and student accommodation as part of a mixed use development, but I believe the proposals are far too enclosed, restricting public access and access to the canal.

The canal should be a real asset to Stretford and it should be made a feature of the town centre, with leisure, commercial and residential mix, like the Waterside development in Sale. There should also be direct access to the canal from Chester Road, it shouldn’t be hidden away as it is in the proposals.

 

Leisure

An artist's impression of new Stretford leisure centre
Visualisation of new Stretford leisure centre

The Refreshed Masterplan proposes the:

  • Building of a new state-of-the-art leisure centre at the UA92 campus, which will be open to the public and run by Trafford Leisure
Turn-Moss
Proposals for Turn Moss

Investment in Turn Moss as follows:

  • A new artificial pitch
  • A new play area, a café
  • Better links to the town centre
  • A pathway around the site that is cycle-friendly

10. In terms of the proposals for a new leisure centre, please indicate which statement most closely reflects your views:

  • I disagree with the proposals around the new Leisure centre

Additional comments:

While I believe Stretford’s existing leisure centre is now quite out of date and in need of modernisation, I do not agree with proposals to create a new leisure centre shared with the university, however state-of-the-art it may be.

While the council are investing in new and upgraded leisure facilities in other parts of the borough, it seems as though Stretford is being short-changed by having to share with UA92 in facilities smaller than the current leisure centre.

Although guarantees may be given, we have seen how easily these guarantees can be broken as they have been at the Talbot Centre. As a regular user of the leisure centre, this is a big concern of mine.

11. In terms of the proposals for Turn Moss, please indicate which statement most closely reflects your views:

  • I disagree with the proposals around Turn Moss

Additional comments:

I disagree with proposals for Turn Moss and cannot see how creating private facilities for the exclusive use of Salford City FC would offer any benefit to the local community. I feel that the negative aspects would far outweigh any supposed benefits this scheme would bring.

Public Spaces

Public-Spaces
A56, outside Stretford Mall and Stretford Public Hall before the recent public realm work

The Refreshed Masterplan proposes the:

  • Planting of new trees along the A56
  • Installation of better street lighting
  • Improvements to the landscaping around the Town Centre
  • Creation of a new street environment along Kingsway
  • Improvement to walkways and the way they join up, so it’s easier to get around the Town Centre

12. In terms of the proposals for improving public spaces please indicate which statement most closely reflects your view:

  • I disagree with the proposals to improve public spaces

Additional comments:

In my view, the most significant issue affecting Stretford town centre is the negative impact caused by the A56 and the associated air pollution, noise and severance it has. As with the recent public realm scheme, the proposals will do little to address any of these issues.

I believe we need the council to commit a bold plan to reduce the capacity on the A56 through Stretford for the benefit of the local area and community, improve air quality and to create an environment people want to spend time in. Until the council commit to doing that, anything else would be a waste of money.

Traffic, Transport and the A56

A56-Edge-Lane
A56/Edge Lane junction

The Refreshed Masterplan proposes the:

  • Change of the road layout to improve the approach to Stretford by car from the south
  • Improvement of pedestrian and cycle routes along the A56 and Talbot Road
  • Improvement of the landscaping along the A56 corridor
  • Development of sites along the A56

13. In terms of the proposals for making improvements to the A56, please indicate which statement most closely reflects your view:

  • I disagree with the proposals around the A56

Additional comments:

I believe we need a bold plan from the council to reduce capacity for motor traffic, while providing high quality, safe and convenient segregated cycling infrastructure, as well as priority for pedestrians and buses along the A56.

We need the council to have a vision that looks forward for the next 20+ years, that tackles the problems of congestion and poor air quality, not continue to prioritise motor traffic above the needs of sustainable transport and the needs of local people.

14. What do you suggest should be the Top Three key areas of priority or focus regarding the Masterplan:

  • Bringing new investment into the area
  • Being brave with the vision and plans for Stretford
  • Fully involving the local community in plans and implementation

15. Do you have any comments on any of the other development sites referred to in the full Refreshed Masterplan document? (for example the Royal Canal Works site, Manor Farm Industrial Estate etc. More details can be found in the Masterplan pages 37-44)

While I support opportunities to develop sites along the A56, I am concerned about the potential loss of green spaces and trees, many of which are quite mature. The council needs to ensure they consult fully on any changes that reduce the limited green space we have.

While I have no specific objections to the Royal Canal Works development. Having looked at the plans, I think more provision should be give to cycle parking to encourage residents to choose active travel and not add to the pollution and congestion by driving.

I am not convinced by the suggestion of relocating Stretford Library to the Essoldo. While I suspect this may have been proposed for financial reasons, I cannot see how it would benefit the community. Locating the library on the opposite side of the A56 would probably lead to reduction in library usage, due to the issues crossing the junction.

As part of the masterplan, the council should commit to providing a safe cycle route between the Bridgewater Canal/Metrolink area on Edge Lane with Longford Park and onto Chorlton-cum-Hardy. this is a popular route with people travelling east to west and is currently quite unpleasant, particularly with families.

Although replacing the gyratory will bring many benefits, I am concerned about the lack of safe segregated cycling infrastructure in proposals shared up to now. This is a popular route for people cycling to and from Urmston, Trafford Park and The Trafford Centre.

16. Do you have any other comments on challenges or opportunities we might have missed that can be included in the Refreshed Masterplan to help ensure it meets the needs and aspirations of the whole community?

As part of the masterplan, I would like to see Trafford commit to tackling the problems motor traffic has in the area, particularly around air pollution and reducing rat-running by introducing filtering on residential streets.

I would also like to see Trafford improve the safety at many of the major junctions in the town, particularly for people walking or cycling. The council need to look at the key routes people take in the town, such as commuting and the school run to make active travel a more attractive option, so people are less inclined to drive.

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