Looks like there will be a new face for Old Trafford. A masterplan to regenerate and revitalise the surrounding area has been submitted for formal adoption in 2022. How will the Manchester housing market react to it?
At the risk of igniting a footie furore, it appears that Old Trafford is the #1 football stadium in the UK among global fans. Research by Visit Britain (Oct 2021) shows that the home of the Manchester United Football Club chalked the highest international visitors, beating the Wembley, Anfield, Etihad and Emirates stadiums.
With about 2.5 million visitors per year (including UK visitors) to the Football Club alone and an additional 500,000 to the neighbouring Lancashire Cricket Club—another world-class sporting venue—Old Trafford* is one of the most visited places in the UK’s Northwest, and certainly the most visited area in Trafford.
*Note: Reference to Old Trafford, an area of Stretford, located in the borough of Trafford, Greater Manchester. (Old Trafford, the MUFC stadium, is located in the same area).
Surrounded by shops and parks, the historic locale of Old Trafford is slowly becoming an alternative residential area for those who dislike city central living, yet still want to be within striking distance of F&B outlets, nightlife, lifestyle events, education institutions, and the business district of the city. Old Trafford is on the metro line to the city, Trafford Centre and Manchester Airport, and within walking distance of MediaCityUK.
Only a mere 3km from the city centre, and right next to Salford Quays, Trafford grew in the latter part of the 19th century because of the Manchester City Docks which was connected to the sea by the Manchester Ship Canal. When the canal could no longer accommodate larger vessels, the Docks closed, falling derelict and causing the Trafford population to stagnate. Redevelopment in recent years, which included the opening of the Trafford Centre in 1998, one of the largest shopping centres in the Northwest, spurred a growth in population and employment.
Today, Trafford’s population stands at 237,600 (roughly half that of Manchester city). A healthy 61% of its population are 16 – 64 years old. Its latest labour market profile is impressive: 76% of the population are in employment—higher than the national rate—and the majority (63%) of those in employment are professionals and management personnel/ senior officials.
Trafford Regeneration Masterplan
Like many other areas around Manchester city, Old Trafford may well be given a new face. A masterplan to revitalise and regenerate what has been earmarked as the Trafford Civic Quarter, was opened for public feedback in Q1 2021 and set for submission to the planning inspectorate for examination before being formally adopted in 2022.
The Civic Quarter is pivotal in the regeneration of the surrounding area, namely Old Trafford and Stretford over the next 15 years to 2037. More than 4000 homes, 500,000 sqft of employment space including 2 hotels, a primary school, a reimagined White City Retail Park, and a new neighbourhood on the former Greater Manchester Police (GMP) HQ site have been proposed in the 135-acre master plan, backed by the council and named the Civic Quarter Area Action Plan. It will also feature the construction of a new public realm which will include a processional route between Lancashire Cricket Club and Manchester United, and improved cycle and pedestrian routes.
The regeneration will not only strengthen the local economy, but also drive the value of the surrounding areas including closer-to-city residences located along Seymour Grove and close to the Seymour Park such as Urban Green, a new residential development which will be completed in 2023 (est). Urban Green will also benefit from earmarked regeneration around the city, namely Great Ducie Street, ID Manchester, Mayfield and Central Retail Park. Combined, these four regeneration projects will create 8.7m sqft of commercial space and over 40,000 jobs.
Thus the construction of new homes is critical, as demand has outpaced supply with vacancy rates in Manchester at a tight 1.75%. Meanwhile, in Greater Manchester, house hunters are facing difficulty in finding homes, fuelling an increase in house prices.
The regeneration of Trafford will complement the host of regeneration efforts planned and ongoing in Manchester, which will cater to the needs of the UK’s fastest-growing city. New jobs created through regeneration will draw in a greater population, which will drive demand for homes. The undersupply of homes will continue to underpin house price growth in the city.
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By Vivienne Pal
- Source: Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government