Stretford Masterplan – Transforming Stretford Mall & Town Centre
Plans to transform Stretford Mall and Town Centre have recently been approved, marking an important milestone for the community of one of Manchester’s most historic market towns.
The Stretford Masterplan will revamp a 27-acre area of the town centre, delivering 140,000 sq ft of commercial spaces and 800 new homes, as well as space for shops, restaurants and bars. Stretford’s rich history and community spirit provide a special opportunity for this scheme to revive and redevelop the town, enhancing the lives of its 50,000 residents and many visitors.
Significant challenges for our high streets and towns remain, with many adversely impacted by the pandemic. Stretford is no exception, and in recent years has faced considerable difficulties with reduced footfall and unlettable empty retail units. An existing shopping centre that was already partly demolished, remains too large to function sustainably and the area has been in need of increased public and green space.
Appointed as both Transport and Civil Engineers on this transformational project, we know how important this scheme is to the community of Stretford, as well as the wider Greater Manchester area as the government’s Levelling Up agenda is put into practice. A joint venture between Trafford Council and developer Bruntwood, the vision is to transform the shape of the town, redeveloping large sections of the mall and creating two new streets. Currently the site is not accessible when the mall is closed, so increasing connectivity throughout the day and night is a key focus, along with providing more safe and accessible routes for pedestrians and new links to local tram and bus stops to reduce traffic and support a move away from car dependency.
Responsible for developing the car parking and access strategy for the masterplan, we focused on the design considerations required to achieve a development which prioritizes sustainable transport and low-car lifestyles, as well as improving the connections between the development and the surrounding areas. Additional partners on the design team include architect, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and Landscape Architects Exterior Architecture.
Leading on the public realm improvements, plans include a network of interlinked spaces with Watson Gardens, a new public park sitting at the centre of the scheme and King Square, providing outdoor seating areas, market stalls and event spaces at the heart of the commercial area of the town. A new waterfront space will also be created at Lacy Street, fronting the Bridgewater Canal and improving links between Bridgewater Way and the town centre. The provision of cycle parking for shoppers and residents is another key element of our role, encouraging a reduction in car usage and increase in active travel throughout the area. Our framework Travel Plan will also support and incentivise businesses and communities to walk, cycle and use public transport, at the same time introducing car club schemes, which will provide access to a car for those essential journeys, but means that individuals no longer need to own a vehicle themselves.
Following 18 months of public consultations, and approval in March this year, the team are both proud and excited to play their own role in transforming Stretford and enabling its community to lead healthier and happier lives through this special project.
The redevelopment of Stretford Mall is a promising sign for the future of our towns and high streets. Bringing green spaces, the promotion of active travel, and improvements catering for local businesses and traders together, it looks set to capture and build on the sense of community and history that Stretford has established for itself and its residents.