It’s proved to be one of the most controversial proposals in recent years. I’m deeply disappointed that we were never allowed by the ruling Conservatives to properly scrutinise the proposal, to look at alternatives, or to test the amounts required to restore Ashes cricket. The suppression of debate in council or executive has been scandalous.
However, we are where we are and the application has reached planning stage and the options for further examination are diminishing. Given that we’ve not been able to satisfy the most unsceptical eye that this is has been properly tested by Trafford, we’re left with lodging objections to the proposal. I’d much rather we’d been allowed to properly scrutinise and look at ways to support test cricket that didn’t impact on the scope for developing the Academy, that didn’t run the risk of creating gridlock, but the scope for realising a really exciting development has been wasted.
For the record I’ve included my objection to the proposal:
I believe that the proposal will generate levels of traffic that are unsustainable without prejudicing the free movement of traffic along Chester Road.
Introducing a right turn into Tescos for customers coming from Stretford will cause gridlock. Traffic is often already reduced to single file as buses stop traffic on the inside lane.
Additionally, the transport assessment takes no account of plans to ramp up permitted custom at White City together with an application to build a supermarket there.
There is a lack of analysis in the submissions as to whether Chester Road can cope with a second large superstore in this proximity. Since there is already
permission for food retail at White City, clearly the planning authority should take cognisance of that development.
Although the playing field upon which the Tesco is to be built has not been utilised for the past few years, it is not clear that the proposed much larger (and yet to be formalised) academy will not require its use. There seems to be an implied assumption that the grounds of the academy can be supplemented by
taking from the park with associated loss of amenity. In any event, the store takes much needed green space, in comparison with the White City proposal which is brownfield under any definition.
The argument for permitting the Tesco is in respect of the planning gain afforded by the regeneration of LCCC. It’s clear that LCCC needs regenerating but it’s not clear that their business case stacks up. Everything is predicated on the winning of Ashes cricket back to Old Trafford. There is no guarantee that
the bid will be successful, there’s no guarantee that even if it is, that the derived income will be sufficient to finance the borrowing. I would want
to see much more independent scrutiny of the business plan before proceeding.
There is loss of public funds associated with this proposal and it requires that residents ignore the degree of trust that is being placed upon the success
of the cricket ground’s future management. It is not clear that the local authority has tested whether the cricket club needs the £21m. With better management, could the call on public funds be reduced and hence the case for the Tesco part of the development be completely nullified?