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Salford Council Approves £15m Revamp of Walkden Town Centre

Salford Council Approves £15m Revamp of Walkden Town Centre

Salford City Council has approved an ambitious £15 million redevelopment plan for Walkden Town Centre, spearheaded by Derwent Estates on behalf of the Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation. This significant investment aims to breathe new life into the area, addressing high vacancy rates and underused retail spaces.

The comprehensive scheme involves the demolition of 180,000 square feet of outdated retail space, specifically targeting large sections of Egerton Walk and Victoria Square, which have struggled with high vacancy rates in recent years. In their place, Derwent Estates plans to create modern commercial units and a landscaped public area designed to boost the centre’s appeal and functionality. This transformation is expected to enhance the vitality of Walkden Town Centre, providing a more attractive and sustainable environment for both retailers and visitors.

A planning statement by Savills, who advised on the project, highlighted the potential for future redevelopment of the newly cleared plots. “Those future development plots will be landscaped areas that will host meanwhile uses in the interim period before development progresses on those plots, further supporting the centre’s vitality and viability,” the statement noted. This phased approach ensures that the area remains vibrant and functional throughout the redevelopment process.

In addition to the new commercial units, the project will introduce a contemporary façade for Walkden Town Centre, significantly improving its aesthetic appeal. The plans also include enhanced public spaces, aimed at creating a more welcoming and user-friendly environment. With the council’s approval secured, Derwent Estates is now seeking a contractor to commence demolition work later this year.

Scott Hall, asset manager at Derwent Estates, emphasised the project’s importance to the local community. “We fully understand the importance of Walkden Town Centre to the local area, which is why we have taken this proactive decision to significantly improve its current offering. We aim to create a more contemporary and attractive yet sustainable environment for both retailers and visitors. We recognise the changing attitudes and expectations of all stakeholders, which is why these plans are so imperative to ensuring a vibrant future for the centre.”

The architectural design for the redevelopment has been crafted by RGP, while project management is being handled by Artal. Barker Proudlove and Graham Sibbald are the retained letting agents, responsible for leasing the new commercial spaces. Derwent Estates is also in the process of liaising with current tenants as part of its relocation programme, ensuring minimal disruption during the redevelopment.

Beyond the town centre, Derwent Estates is demonstrating its commitment to the local community through additional investments, notably at the nearby Little Hulton Community Centre. Hall explained, “The charity’s commitment to enhancing and improving amenities in the area is further indicated by the works currently underway at Little Hulton Community Centre. A grant has been awarded to redevelop the existing pavilion, which has been underused since its construction in 2008. Funds from The Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation will provide an enhanced and permanent place for the community to come together, with a commitment to investing in and maintaining the building for the next 125 years. The full refurbishment and extension of the existing facility has already started on site and will be handed over to Community Little Hulton in October of this year.”

This dual focus on both Walkden Town Centre and the broader community underscores the holistic approach of Derwent Estates and the Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation. Their coordinated efforts are set to provide lasting benefits, creating vibrant, functional, and attractive spaces that cater to the evolving needs of the local population. The redevelopment of Walkden Town Centre, coupled with the revitalisation of the Little Hulton Community Centre, marks a significant investment in the future of the area, promising enhanced amenities and a more dynamic local economy.

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BDC 317 : Jun 2024