PLANS to totally revamp the former Rackhams building in Altrincham have been approved.

Trafford Council’s planning committee voted to approve the plans for the site, which is now renamed Foundation, on January 20.

Images were released back in August 2021 as Bruntwood Works and the council revealed the joint plans for the ‘iconic’ building.

The town hall has already invested heavily in a number of projects to regenerate Altrincham and Rackhams is just one of a cluster of iconic buildings in the Stamford Quarter that the council and Bruntwood Works plan to include in their transformation of the area.

The plans include a complete redesign of the ground floor, space for new bars and restaurants and outdoor terraces on Stamford Square.

A 340 square metre ‘living wall’ will also be installed around the building to provide oxygen and help reduce noise levels.

The once-loved House of Fraser store, which closed in 2018, will also be transformed into 37,500 square feet of commercial workspace, with space for shops, bars and restaurants on the ground and lower ground floors.

A two-storey extension and the creation of outdoor terraces on the first floor also feature in the plans, along with new cycle storage and showers on site to promote active travel. The bridge links to Sunningdale and Kingfisher buildings will also be demolished as part of the plans. 

The transformation is part of Bruntwood Works’ £50 million Pioneer programme – designed to create creative, sustainable work spaces. 

The idea is to try and encourage more people to come into the town centre for leisure and work.

The building’s proximity to Altrincham Interchange also provides tram, train and bus links to the city centre, whilst improved lift and ramp access will be introduced to improve accessibility.

Rackhams was a fixture of Altrincham’s high street for decades before it was forced to close to in 2018 along with 31 other House of Fraser stores across the country.

Cllr Andrew Western, leader of Trafford Council, said: “Trafford Council has carried out a huge amount of work in Altrincham and we are very proud of what we have achieved. The council has been at the forefront of the regeneration of the town centre in recent years including our work on the successful Market Quarter, public realm works and Altrincham Business Improvement District.

“The Rackhams building is close to the hearts of people who live in Altrincham and following close consultation with residents we will redevelop it to meet the needs of a modern town centre with a mix of workspace, retail and leisure. This project will help Altrincham become an even more successful town centre and I for one will be delighted to see it take shape.”

Andrea George, town centre and consumer brands director at Bruntwood Works, said: “Altrincham is already a town centre success story, bucking the story of decline that has defined so many of its peers around the country. The pandemic’s lasting impact on where people want to spend more time to work, shop and play locally means there is an opportunity to deepen and strengthen its offering. That’s what Foundation will do.

“It will give Altrincham all the ingredients that the high streets of tomorrow need. By blending premium workspaces, retail and leisure, we’re providing a new and much-needed amenity that complements the existing operators within Stamford Quarter and the wider town centre. We can’t wait to see Foundation take shape and underpin this new chapter for Altrincham.”