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Region wide bid by Greater Manchester Combined Authority to revitalise town centres
7:00am Wednesday 20th March 2013 in News
GREATER Manchester’s 10 councils have joined forces in a bid to revitalise the region’s eight major town centres - including Altrincham.
The local authorities want to ensure that the region’s principal towns complement each other and develop their own styles.
A town centre action plan will be developed and sequenced across the towns - Altrincham, Ashton-under-Lyne, Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport and Wigan.
Public and private sector experts who have carried out the review say town centres have been hit by on-line retail and out-of-town shopping centres, including the Trafford Centre.
They propose a new investment fund is set up to carry out upgrading schemes for the town centres.
Investments in the towns would take place in sequence. Returns from investments would then be available to fund subsequent town centre projects across the region.
The plan is due to be considered by Greater Manchester's Combined Authority (GMCA) at its meeting on Friday.
The GMCA report gives strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for each of the eight town centres. It says Altrincham is ranked the 32nd most ‘at risk’ town in the country, as shoppers go elsewhere.
The report suggests that Altrincham should develop a role as a modern market town, attracting visitors from Cheshire so it can thrive alongside the Trafford Centre.
It outlines how leadership is strong and beginning to deliver change, and how the council has developed Altrincham Forward - a partnership with the private sector - which now needs to focus on: • Improving access and movement around the town centre.
• Protecting the remaining mainstream stores and encouraging independent traders into the town.
• Refurbishing the market, to focus on higher quality of goods and specialist food based retailers, and renewing the role of the wider market quarter.
• Providing town centre homes The chairman of Altrincham Forward and leader of Trafford Council, Cllr Matt Colledge, said: "Altrincham Forward's vision is to restore Altrincham to an attractive, bustling modern market town with a distinct and bold identity; and there is really positive work going on to achieve this.
"These are exciting times for Altrincham, with major developments under way to provide a new hospital, a new interchange and a transformed market. The town has a vital role to play in Greater Manchester, and we will be working with our Greater Manchester colleagues to develop our proposals and ensure we can deliver the maximum impact on the region's economy."