The multi-million-pound transformation of Altrincham Town Centre by Trafford Council and its partners has been hailed a huge success. The LK Group is proud to be the project management team behind this transformation.
New figures show footfall has risen by almost a quarter on 2010 figures since the local authority’s transformation project began with public and private investment, while shop vacancies are down by almost three-quarters.
In the past year alone, footfall in Altrincham Town Centre has risen to 1.74m – a more than 5% increase year-on-year since 2016.
The figures stand in sharp contrast to the most recent statistics from Ipsos’ Retail Performance Index which show UK footfall dipping 5.5% on average since 2016.
Altrincham had the worst shop vacancy rate in the UK in 2010 when over 30% of the shops lay empty and the Sun labelled it a “ghost town”. Shop vacancies fell by almost three-quarters to just 7.9% in December 2017 and are now a third less than the national average of 12.2% in 2017.
The very strong figures illustrate the transformation of Altrincham with the recent completion of phase two of the project, which has been funded by Trafford Council, Transport for Greater Manchester and Section 106 grant funding.
The Public Realm project in Altrincham is aimed at revitalising and rejuvenating the town by breathing life back into the Town Centre and making it a better place to live, visit, shop, enjoy and invest. The first two phases of improvements have cost c£3m.
The transformation of Altrincham Town Centre has ushered in a number of high-profile retail and leisure openings, including national chains such as JD Sports, Paperchase and Bistrot Pierre, along with high quality independent retailers and food and drink outlets opening such as Con Club and Rankin Styles.
The success of the market area has acted as a catalyst to further regeneration in the town and is being replicated elsewhere.
Leader of Trafford Council, Cllr Sean Anstee, said: “We’re proud to see Altrincham bucking the national trend and becoming one of the best places in the country to live, work and enjoy your leisure time.
“This was our clear vision when we set out several years ago to use public and private investment to transform it from a ghost town to a hugely successful vibrant one.”
Theresa Grant, Trafford Council Chief Executive, said: “As a council we remain committed to the sustainability and transformation of our town centres and we are focussed on ensuring they continue to provide that exciting mix of high quality leisure, retail and living spaces for locals and visitors alike.
“Altrincham now has a modern transport interchange making it easier and convenient for workers, residents and visitors to travel into the Town Centre. Once there they can choose from a fantastic variety of shops and leisure outlets, including the town’s historic Market Hall, transformed thanks to significant council investment.”
Conor Leyden, managing director of The LK Group, the project management team behind the public realm transformation, said: “We’re aware of 26 new restaurants and bars that have opened since the project began – it’s really an exciting time to be in Altrincham.”
“Anecdotally we know local shop owners, residents and visitors to Altrincham are reporting a much-improved experience in the Town Centre, and the proof is now there for all to see – by investing in the public realm, Trafford Council is attracting more visitors and more investment in the town.”
The Altrincham public realm works comprised redesigning the streets, footpaths and street furniture around the town and providing a high quality, low maintenance asset for the town, its residents and businesses.
Works on phase one of the project, which included improving Goose Green (a conservation area), Shaws Road (near the market) and Cross Street were completed in early 2016.
These works were followed by phase 2a which included improvements to the section of Stamford New Road, between Moss Lane and Regent Road.
As part of phase 2a, new street furniture, new high-quality footpaths, new drainage, road construction, additional trees, parking & loading bays and a number of crossing points designed to improve pedestrian movement around the retail area have been completed.
So far c£3million has been spent on phase 1 and phase 2a; with a further c£3million to be utilised in the next phases across the Town Centre.
Proposed works also include a parking and wayfinding strategy to encourage movement around the town.