Stretford Town Centre – Consultation


Currently, Chester Road and Kingsway sever the Mall from the rest of Stretford and create dangerous, uncomfortable crossings for residents and high levels of pollution and noise.

Stretford Town Centre Consultation – Accessibility

My thoughts on the Accessibility of the Town Centre

Too limited in scale. The plan assumes that people only walk to the town centre from an area not much further out than Victoria Park. In making this assumption, it confines its consideration of severance to the A56 and Kingsway.

Stretford Foodhall and other venues that have started up in recent years are already successfully exploiting the walkability of the nearest neighbourhoods. The new homes planned for the centre will add further to this ultra-local market. However, the best potential increase in the town centre’s market share lies beyond the immediate area.

A walkable journey of fifteen minutes could reasonably define the catchment that Stretford needs to exploit. Applying this extends the area out towards:

  • Lostock/Sevenways/Derbyshire Estate,
  • Moss Road,
  • Gorse Hill,
  • The Quadrant,
  • Longford,
  • The Meadows,
  • Urmston Lane,
  • Moss Park.

The routes serving these neighbourhoods from Stretford are typically busy fast roads with narrow pavements, often in poor condition and subject to aggressive pavement parking. Certain junctions are already notoriously unsafe.

The council could work with Living Streets – Stretford to engage with the community in identifying further severance and improving walkability.

The risk of not addressing this is that Stretford loses walking market penetration, putting people in a taxi to Manchester rather than taking an unpleasant 10-minute walk to their local town centre.

Edit

As a consequence of this post, my twitter friend Owler Nook has posted an isochrone map of Stretford showing increments of walking areas. This is a live calculation available here

Isochrone from Open Route Service

What really underlines the importance of attracting these potential customers for Stretford all living within 15 minutes is the scale. The plan is focusing all its accessibility improvements on the inner ‘red’ area currently accommodating 1500 residents. Take it out to the 15 minute range and you’re targeting fifteen thousand people.

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2 responses to “Stretford Town Centre – Consultation”

  1. Jane F Leicester Avatar

    I wholeheartedly agree. Sale to stretford is walkable as well.

    How do we get one of these isochrone figures for other areas as well?
    Thanks

    1. admin Avatar

      The isochrone was provided by a twitter friend Owler Nook. I think he’s Stockport based, but the link to the site is here
      It’s a live link so I think you can alter the settings to centre it on Sale for instance. I didn’t include Sale in the walkable catchment to Stretford, primarily because it’s not natural catchment for Stretford. Typically, I would expect people to walk to Sale town centre from those neighbourhoods.

      However, the point you make is a good one. I think Sale suffers in a similar way to Stretford in terms of severance. There’s a lot of places where it seems the norm to make pedestrians ‘leg it’ to avoid getting knocked down, typically on the A56 but also on neighbouring linking roads too.

      It’s frustrating that whilst we’re supposedly so supportive of reinvigorating these local town centres, we’re really actively (and I use the word deliberately) discouraging the natural catchment from making use of them by making it so hard (and dangerous) to get to them. The moral of the tale is that once the potential customer has decided to use their car, taxi etc to get to shops or leisure, they have far more choice and Stretford is less likely to benefit. A nice walk can be part of the fulfilment that the customer is seeking and so adds value to the Stretford experience as well as narrowing the field as to other town centres they can walk to.

      I always find it interesting that towns that are most attractive for days out, whether it be here or abroad invariably are the most ‘walkable’. They may have lots of through traffic but we seek out the quiet bits.

      Stretford has really suffered for decades of a wrong-headed approach. I used to attend the Stretford Town Centre Partnership. Every month a colleague would bemoan the lack of free parking as the reason for the town’s decline. The fact that walking to Stretford had become so hazardous was never considered or addressed. I think the penny has finally dropped and there’s more focus on walking and wheeling but it seems to be so narrow in scope and won’t in my view have the impact it needs.
      Mike

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