MULTI-million pound plans to revitalise Altrincham were unveiled this week – and work on the first stage will get under way by next summer.

A blueprint has been drawn up by Altrincham Forward to regenerate the market quarter and make the town centre more welcoming.

The Altrincham Forward group – made up of council, business and community leaders – says the proposals will deliver a refurbished marketplace, pedestrian friendly streets and a new, purpose-built home for Altrincham Library.

Trafford Council has joined forces with Hale-based developer Citybranch to carry out the £15m scheme.

Altrincham Forward was founded after a survey in 2010 that showed the town had the highest rate of empty shops for a medium-sized town in the country, at more than 30 per cent.

Cllr Matt Colledge, the chairman of Altrincham Forward and leader of Trafford Council, said the regeneration of the market quarter was an important step in Altrincham's fightback. He is confident it will act as a catalyst and the benefits will include attracting major retailers into the town.

He said: "This is a major agreement and a significant step on the road to revitalising Altrincham.

“Our aim is to increase footfall, provide better community facilities and improve business performance for everyone, from market traders to national retailers and for our local bars and restaurants.

“We are now looking forward to seeing if people agree with the plans, fine tuning them accordingly, and working through the details, so we can deliver a quality scheme for the people of Altrincham.”

Adam Gross, managing director of Citybranch, said: “These proposals will help to drive forward the regeneration of Altrincham. It is innovative working arrangements of this nature which we believe can help local authorities deliver positive change in the communities they serve.”

The chairman of Altrincham and Bowdon Civic Society and Altrincham Forward board member, Judie Collins, said: "We are thrilled to see Planit and Stockley's plans for the public realm and the market quarter proposals are very much what we have been hoping to see – so thank you Citybranch and Trafford Council."

The bulk of the cost – £13m – will be met by Hale-based developer Citybranch while the council will contribute £2m. It will finance this by selling as yet unspecified parcels of council-owned land.

The current site of Altrincham Hospital, which is set to move to a new site on Railway Street in 2014, will become home to the new library, and some of the land will be used to create a large pedestrianised space between the library and the market.

The remainder of the site will be redeveloped to contain a mix of residential and commercial units, and may also be the site of a new hotel for the town centre. If things go to plan, this will be completed in 2015.

Refurbishment of the market, including the listed market hall, will get under way by summer 2013 and the aim is to complete it by the end of the year.

The scheme – which was approved by the council on Monday night – was launched at Altrincham Town Hall on Tuesday morning.

Trafford Council will now begin developing the plans in more detail, exploring working arrangements with Citybranch and commissioning designs for the refurbishment of Altrincham market and the surrounding area.

The proposals will be on display in Altrincham Library, shops and Altrincham Town Hall for a month.

* ALTRINCHAM and Sale Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the £15m plan to revitalise the market quarter.

Chamber chairman Jackie Campbell, who chairs the marketing committee of Altrincham Forward, said: “As with many towns within the UK, Altrincham has indeed faced challenging times over recent years.

"What however Altrincham has are people who remain passionate about the town and a great deal of business acumen. Having been established over 100 years the chamber has seen many changes, however, and has remained the backbone support to local business.

"Working with Trafford and key stakeholders we have continued to look at ways to revitalise our town. We are thrilled that plans are now very much in place and delighted that the community will start to see these unfold over the next few years.

"Altrincham, and indeed Trafford, currently shows the biggest growth in professional and service business in the Greater Manchester authorities and is forecast to increase further with good office facilities and outstanding transport links.

"This market quarter development and public realm will be a pivotal step in the revitalisation of the retail sector for Altrincham.”