Altrincham – Transformation of a town – Festival of Place tour
Last week the Festival of Place Social Impact took place. The Festival sought to explore how to design and develop places that make a positive social impact putting citizens first. As part of the day focusing on healthier town centres and spatial justice, with a particular focus on compact neighbourhoods and 15 minute cities, our Co-founding Director Stephen O’Malley took everyone on a tour of Altrincham in Greater Manchester.
Only 10 years ago Altrincham became known for having the highest shop vacancy rates in the UK. Fast forward to 2018 however and the town was crowned Great British High Street! The story behind the turnaround is a great example of many factors all coming together including the transformation of the market into an award winning food and drink destination and real investment in the design of the streetscape so it focuses on people not cars. The result has given the market town a new lease of life; vacancy rates have fallen, footfall has increased and it has become a lively, social, attractive place where people want to spend time and support local businesses. It is a great example of a compact neighbourhood and true design collaboration amongst the team which also included Planit-IE. What’s more, just this weekend Altrincham was once again crowned best place to live in the North West by The Sunday Times, an accolade it has been awarded more than once.
So if you missed it, here’s a chance to take a wander through the town and see just what makes it such a great place.