When the news about UA92 and the revised Stretford Masterplan original came out, I raised my concerns about the privatisation of public green space at Turn Moss. Particularly when the details about Salford City FC using the pitches as their training facilities became known. I covered these concerns in my consultation response.
At the start of February 2018, a planning application for the Turn Moss development was published on Trafford Council’s planning site. Looking at the many documents submitted, it’s now possible to get beyond the vagueness of the consultation and see what Trafford Council’s plans actually are.
It’s become pretty clear that I’m not the only one with concerns about the proposals. Much of the discussion on the Friends of Turn Moss Facebook group is about the proposals. There’s also a Save Turn Moss campaign set up to publicise and oppose the proposals.
For me personally, the main concerns about development are:
- Encroachment on greenbelt
- Privatisation of public green space
- Increased motor traffic and parking
- Light pollution and impact to wildlife
Encroachment on greenbelt
The development of Turn Moss would be the start of encroachment on what is greenbelt land, a public right of way and part of the Mersey floodplain. While the proposals in themselves might not seem as significant as if they were residential housing, it sets a dangerous precedent.
Where will it end? This is on the Chorlton border after all, where there’s significant demand for new housing.
Privatisation of public green space
The fencing off of pitches for the exclusive use of Salford City FC is effectively privatisation of public space. Once this happens, it will never return to public use. The only reason I can see for this is that it gives Trafford Council, who are no stranger to privatisation, a way to financially exploit a public amenity.
Increased motor traffic and parking
Increasing the number of pitches and providing dedicated pitches to Salford City FC will increase the amount of motor traffic in an area that’s already blighted by traffic congestion and poor air quality. While there are walking and cycling routes, many of those using the facilities will be from out of the immediate area and will be far more likely to drive.
There is currently limited parking at Turn Moss. This is no way sufficient for the number of pitches and will lead to significant issues in the area around Turn Moss.
Light pollution and impact to wildlife
I am not convinced that Trafford Council have done enough to fully determine the impact the development will have on wildlife, particularly when it comes to light pollution.
Can Stretford trust Trafford Council to do the right thing?
Can we really trust Stretford to do the right thing? Well, take a look at the recent public realm work carried out at the A56 / Edge Lane junction and you’ll find your answer. A scheme that supposedly promised so much, but was really just about filling in the subways to free up land for UA92 development.
It’s now a few months since the work was completed back in December 2017 and what are we left with?
Now dubbed ‘Stretty E-Cig Lights‘, the rather naff and cheap looking ‘feature lighting’ hasn’t been fully functional for a single day since they were installed. This is despite assurances from Sean Anstee.
In the original proposals, the indicative lighting design looked marginally less rubbish than what’s been installed. I assume this was to save some cash, hoping that no one would notice, just like the reduced planting.
A number of railings were destroyed at the bottom of Edge Lane, during the first collision at the A56 / Edge Lane junction, since the public realm work was carried out. Thankfully, there were no pedestrians waiting here, as they would have gone the way of the railings.
It’s now getting on for almost 2 months since the collision and there’s still no sign of the railings being repaired. Indeed, it even took weeks for vehicle debris to be removed by Trafford Council.
The PureGym mud bath
Outside PureGym, at the end of the parking is what can only be described as a mud bath. The reason for this is obvious, drivers selfishly choosing to park their vehicles on the grass and on double yellow lines.
Ironically, this is most likely to be users of the gym, who are obviously too lazy to park in the car park on Lacy Street. Or maybe they’re just scared of using the dangerous pedestrian crossings.
So why has this happened? Well, first of all, it looks like there needs to be some kind of physical barrier to stop vehicles mounting the pavement. But also, you can only assume there’s no enforcement of the double yellows.
Now, just imagine what Turn Moss will be like with all those football pitches available. Just think how many cars there’ll be ferrying players and supporters. Just think how many drivers will be too lazy to park in a proper space and will park inconsiderately.
For what benefit?
I’m not the most regular user of Turn Moss, as I don’t live close enough to use it often. But as an occasional user, I see this development as a significant loss to our public green space in Stretford.
While this was included in the revised masterplan, what benefit does it provide to local residents? People in Stretford are crying out for a proper town centre to replace the failing Stretford Mall, they’re not crying out for football pitches, they’re not crying out for even more traffic.
It’s hard to see this as anything but cynical exploitation of public facilities by Trafford Council for additional revenues and a sweetener for the UA92 deal between Trafford Council and Gary Neville. As we know, Stretford is a safe Labour seat, there’s nothing for the Tory led council to fear in being unpopular here.
Why isn’t Gary Neville and his mates at Salford City FC building their training pitches closer to their Salford home? If Sean Anstee and his mates at the council are so keen to welcome Salford City FC to Trafford, why don’t they go and build the training facilities a bit closer to home in his own Bowdon ward? Yeah, like that’d ever happen.
So, while Trafford Council are busy buying shopping centres in Altrincham, to improve the town centre there. They merely view Stretford as a cash cow, there to be exploited.
Stretford needs a town centre, not football pitches
The deadline for objections is 1 March 2018, if you want to object, you can find out more on the Save Turn Moss site or in the Friends of Turn Moss Facebook group. The planning application can be found on Trafford Council’s planning site.
It’s great to see local and national press has picked up on the campaign against Trafford Council’s plans for Turn Moss. There’s been articles in the Manchester Evening News, the Messenger, The Guardian and The Times (paywall). While most of the focus is on Gary Neville, I think the real focus should be on Sean Anstee and his mates at Trafford Council.