Former GMP headquarters in Trafford could be turned into new homes

Plans to develop the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) site on Chester Road in Trafford into new homes are set to be decided this week.

At a meeting this Friday (November 26) the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is seeking approval to enter into a joint venture with Trafford council to own the site and bring a yet-undecided developer on board.

The GMCA needs to also agree investing £642,500 into the scheme, to be underwritten by the authority’s police and crime reserve funds.

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The plan is to create new homes on the site once a developer partner is brought on and the scheme is aiming to be a net zero carbon development.

The 3.57Ha site is currently owned outright by the GMCA and forms part of the GMP/GMCA estate and was the former location of the GMP headquarters known as Chester House.

The site is currently occupied by a GMP data centre and a communications branch. GMP have previously declared the site as surplus to their operational requirements and have agreed to vacate the premises.

The site has since been included in the Trafford Civic Quarter Area Action Plan, which is set to overhaul the area from Old Trafford football ground to the town hall – including more than 750 new homes, an 100-bedroom hotel, new shops, offices and other community facilities.

The old GMP building is on Chester Road

The aim is to provide 25pc affordable housing on the site, which is well connected to the rest of Greater Manchester thanks to its proximity to the Metrolink.

Due to a disused rail tunnel under part of the site Civic Quarter site, the GMCA has budgeted a further £5m for ‘abnormal costs’ that are ‘inevitably’ going to emerge while the site is developed.

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Overall, the GMP Chester Road site is set to contribute a £11.2m levy fee towards the Civic Quarter site development.

Over the next financial year, Trafford council and the GMCA are set to split the legal, marketing and procurement costs associated with the GMP site development – set to total £270,000.

Then over the 2023-24 financial year, the authorities will split the costs associated with the planning application, construction design, site investigations and energy strategy – totalling £1.015m – which will then be matched by the chosen developers.

Chester Road in Old Trafford

Trafford council and the GMCA hope to appoint a developer by as early as April 2022 – it is understood there has already been interest expressed in the site by a number of developers.

A GMCA report ahead of Friday’s meeting said: “The redevelopment of the Chester House site in Trafford provides a great opportunity to deliver an exemplar scheme that will benefit not only the new community that will be established on the site, but also the wider existing community.”

The scheme has been recommended for approval by GMCA officers. A final decision on the joint venture and beginning the process of developing the site is due on Friday November 26.

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