Chorlton Traders

Working together in Chorlton

Alan Williams, our Co-Chair chased the One Chorlton team for a response to our consultation concerns and an update. Here’s what they said.

You can read our original and full response to the consultation here.

We requested an update and raised fresh concerns, ahead of our February meeting.  These are our points and a response, received from Lewis Jones of the One Chorlton team on 7 February 2024. 

Alan: We expressed a number of concerns about your proposals, in particular height and massing of the blocks of flats, the lack of publicly available parking, retail provision, and lack of facilities/space for community. It would be useful to hear your reaction to these.

One Chorlton:  Please pass on our thanks to members for the consultation response that you submitted. This has been circulated – along with other consultation submissions – to the design and technical team who are now considering all of the feedback we received. Since the response deadline in December, we’ve been logging and collating all the responses we received.

As part of the next stage of the design, the team are considering all of the various points raised, including the scale and layout of the proposed buildings, as well as design/use of materials; transport and parking; retail mix; and design of the landscaped public spaces. They’re doing so in tandem with technical work and surveys (which will form part of the planning application) being undertaken. Whilst there is likely to be changes to what is proposed as the design evolves and responds to stakeholder feedback, this will be within the constraints of the site, including considerations to developable areas and viability challenges.

We’re not in a position to provide a substantive design update for your meeting, but we’ll keep you updated and will provide more detail as soon as its available.

Alan: The precinct is now pretty much closed, I walked through it yesterday and it is indeed a sad, desolate place in the heart of Chorlton. For those traders that still remain in the vicinity, we are really concerned about the effects on footfall that the closure will make, the dangers of vandalism, further degradation of the site, your plans for parking. This affects Chorlton  traders, residents and customers and seems likely to continue for several years. What plans do you have to support and help traders from now on, who will be operating in even more difficult circumstances. I am fearful many shops will not survive and you will end up with the new residential flats surrounded by a desert of boarded up closed-down shops.

Regarding the precinct, we understand and note your concerns about the impact on Chorlton.

From our perspective, we are working up the designs and planning application information. We are doing this as a swiftly as possible to ensure the site is vacant for as short a time as can be. We appreciate your point around the site being empty and it is not in our interest to have protracted planning period.

We currently expect to submit the planning application to the council this spring, which we then hope the council will determine by the summer. If approved, it is expected that work would start on site later this summer. If refused, we would have to consider the next steps and revise the timescales.

We’re committed to delivering the regeneration of the site in a considered way. In the shorter term, this means ensuring we put in place measures to limit any local impact during demolition and construction and that we keep those in the surrounding area – including traders – fully updated on what to expect. Such measures to mitigate impact will be fully detailed in a Construction Management Plan, to be submitted to Manchester City Council as part of the application. We’ve a good track record of working closely with neighbours and delivering projects in a considerate way and our approach to this project will be no different.

In the longer-term, our objective is to deliver a high-quality addition to the centre of Chorlton that vastly improves the public spaces and complements the existing high streets, with a good retail mix; green spaces for people to enjoy; and residents on the doorstep that will provide more footfall to both new and existing businesses.

We’ll communicate your concerns back to the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, who own the site and will therefore manage security over the coming months whilst it remains vacant. The Pension Fund’s advisors, CBRE, are currently working on a strategy for how the precinct is managed between now and when the proposals commence, if approved. This involves security and hoarding but also meanwhile uses. They plan to keep most of the car park open as long as possible, operated by the same company that currently operates the car park. They are also exploring opportunities such as extension to the Makers market, an additional farmers market concept, pop-up events and spaces for traders. We’re hopeful that these additional meanwhile uses will attract footfall to the district centre and whatever is proposed in this intervening period needs to complement the existing traders in Chorlton, not compete with them.