PLANNING chiefs have backed a £3.5m scheme for a new promenade area at Trafford Wharfside.

A 170m-long decked walkway will be opened along the Manchester Ship Canal and Imperial War Museum North.

It will be linked to the new BBC Media City development by a spectacular footbridge across the canal, which will soon be built.

The quay edge will be extended to incorporate the promenade, which will be funded by the North West Developmment Agency. There will also be areas for people to relax along the canalside and it will link to cycle routes.

A planning report said it is hoped the development will ‘act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the Wharfside area’.

The 85m long bridge - which was granted planning permission last year - will have a fan-shaped mast made up of 32 pylons extending to 32m.

It has been designed by Wilkinson Eyre architects and bridge engineers Gifford, the same team that designed the 'Blinking Eye' Bridge in Gateshead.

Cllr Brian Rigby said: "It is going to be a rather iconic development across the Manchester Ship Canal and is yet another piece in the jigsaw in the development of Wharfside."

The Media City complex is due to open in 2011.