Hundreds of new homes and a cinema could be built in a major transformation of Sale town centre.
Outline plans have been put forward for 215 dwellings, retail space and a cinema in a revamp which has split local opinion.
The three-storey Sibson House, six retail buildings and a multi-storey car park would all be demolished to make way for the new development.
The regeneration project, in its early stages, has been welcomed broadly by Sale councillors who want to see investment in the town, but concerns remain over the number of flats, traffic congestion and ‘loss of character’.
Trafford councillor Barry Brotherton said: “The Priory Ward councillors, who represent the Sale town centre area, recognise that the town centre is long overdue for improvement and, in general, we welcome the proposed significant investment in the centre. However, we don’t want Sale to lose its character and become over developed.
Sibson House, six retail buildings and a multi-storey car park would all be demolished to make way for the new development
“It is important that any development has adequate landscaping and green spaces. We are particularly concerned about the proposal for a 15 storey block of flats and a total of 215 dwellings on the site.
“Overall there doesn’t seem to be enough car parking provision and, of course, the extra population will place an additional burden on our already over stretched infrastructure i.e. school places, provision GP services.
“We understand that a formal planning application will be submitted later this year and everyone will then all have a chance to try to influence the proposals.”
Office administrator Ben Connolly, 24, said: “I think we need to stop and think about what needs changing and why, rather than just knocking down something old and building something new.
“There’s a cinema down the road in Altrincham which I barely ever see people going in or out of, and I doubt Sale would be any different.”
Retired resident Dave Hill, 65, said: “The cinema is the sugar on the pill. So many new homes equals or doubles the number of cars and driving around Sale is bad now. It will increase the commuters on the buses and trams which are packed now.
“If you try to drive near the town hall or try to get to the M60 by any of the main roots at rush hour, then it’s more like a full stop for an hour.”
Other locals have welcomed the proposals, saying that it is something the town centre has been crying out for.
Father-of-four Steve, from Sale, said that though he has reservations about the number of homes, which could add extra pressure on local schools, the cinema will give the area a much needed boost.
He said: “I like the idea of a cinema because I could walk to it. When going to Alty and T C (town centre) it can get costly with four kids. I would rather spend my money in Sale as well. Movies and eating out all within walking distance would be great.”
Local property experts have also said the plans will finally give Sale the opportunity to move out of the shadow of neighbouring towns.
Christopher Bond, branch manager at Thornley Groves, said: “I can only see the impact as positive and most definitely a boost to the Sale area. There has been very little change to Sale Town Centre itself for a number of years despite it being an ideal location for families perfectly positioned for those commuting to the city centre.”
The application will now be viewed by Trafford Council planners, who will determine the environmental impact of the proposals as they stand.
Mark Rebbeck, commercial director for Maloneview (Sale) Ltd, which is developing the scheme, said: “We are still at an early stage with the proposals for the redevelopment of Sale town centre. Before a planning application is prepared, we will be consulting widely with local residents and businesses so they can help shape these exciting plans for the town.
“This is an important step though and we look forward to speaking to the local community about the future of Sale in the months to come.”
SimpsonHaugh and Partners have been listed as the architects for the scheme.
Source: Manchester Evening News