Manchester residents welcome redevelopment plans for Hale Barns Square – after seven years of delay

By Najeeb Rehman

The redevelopment of the Hale Barns Square will finally begin in early 2013 after nearly seven years of planning delays.

Actions were approved in March last year but building work continued to be delayed due to ‘negotiations’ with existing tenants who refused to leave.

The new shopping complex in Hale Barns, one of Manchester’s most affluent suburbs, will be centred on a Booths supermarket and will include six other smaller retail units, 24 residential apartments, and a 205 space car park.

The Booths supermarket will have a sales floor of around 30,000 sq ft – ten times bigger than the current Co-operative Food which has a floor space of just 3,000 sq ft.

Danny Pinkus from Robert Pinkus & Co, Booths’ retained property advisors, said: “Hale Barns is a fantastic South Manchester suburb with an excellent demographic to complement the quality offer which Booths will provide.”

Altrincham based Citybranch, in partnership with property developer Development Securities, will first demolish the old 1960s style centre which has fallen into disrepair.

Citybranch Director, Adam Gross, said: “We expect work to start at the beginning of the New Year and it should take 12-18 months to complete. We are still in negotiations with existing shop owners but do not anticipate any further delays.”

The Hale Barns Post Office is one of the businesses Citybranch are still in negotiations with and thousands have signed a petition to ensure it remains in both during and after the development is completed.

Mr Gross explained that although the Post Office lease is ending this month they will be welcome to one of the six retail units once the development is built.

The owner of the Post Office said: “If the size and rent is reasonable I would consider taking one of the units once the development is complete.

“But, to date, no offer has been made to any of the current retailers in The Square.”

The Post Office will share retail space with the Hale Barns Pharmacy on Hale Road for the duration of the development and should be open later this month.

It is unclear at this stage whether this will be a permanent or temporary move and a number of issues, such as who will pay for the move, are still subject to negotiations.

The Co-operative Food is also closing this month and November 21 will be its last day of trade.

The complex will be a lot smaller than the one rejected by the planning authority in 2008 which sparked a campaign led by the former vicar of All Saints Church in Hale Barns, Rev Robert Hinton.

The original plans involved a Waitrose supermarket anchoring 51 apartments, 14 shops, and a 287 space underground car park.

Waitrose eventually pulled out of the proposal after a public inquiry, which cost an estimated £300,000, and opted to open a store in Broadheath instead which has now been open for three years.

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