Plans to rebuild a business centre in Little Hulton four years after a devastating fire have been approved by Salford City Council. The applicant proposes to erect six industrial units at the Towngate Business Centre with associated car parking and a yard area. 

The gross internal floorspace proposed is 4152.8 square metres. The plan is to use this as a storage and distribution centre. 

The land was previously occupied by a warehouse. However, in November 2018 a fire damaged the buildings on site. 

Some of the buildings have since been refurbished, but other areas were completely destroyed and are now being used as yard areas. At the time of the fire reports said that a huge fire broke out in the former Lucozade Factory building, in the Worsley Trading Estate, in the early hours.

“Firefighters moved in quickly to bring the fire under control, but the building has been left completely destroyed by the flames,” the Manchester Evening News reported back in November 2018. “The warehouse, which was being used to store ceramics and plastic baths, contained asbestos in the roof and some fragments have blown onto road surfaces and surrounding properties.

“At the height of the fire ten Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service engines and two aerial appliances were at the scene. No injuries occurred.”

Huge fire at Worsley Trading Estate Little Hulton.

Huge fire at Worsley Trading Estate Little Hulton.

Once these plans were submitted by Towngate PLC, concerns were raised about the potential for levels of noise if the roadway between the building and Hazel Avenue would be used for HGVs 24 hours a day – objectors believed the noise would be amplified in such a small alleyway.

The points raised:

– The noise level would not be low. The level of noise impact was assessed during lockdowns, so does not provide a true reflection of the impact once fully operational at full capacity.

– Operations during daytime hours will impact the ability to work from home and quality of life of residents.

Chairing the Planning and Transportation Regulatory Panel, Ray Mashiter said: “We no longer have that road that goes along those back yards which seems to have solved problems. There were six objections made but there are no members of the public here which is a very good indication that ultimately their main issues have been solved.

“They are getting back the employment space where it did exist.”

Huge fire at Worsley Trading Estate Little Hulton.

Huge fire at Worsley Trading Estate Little Hulton.

As the site has historical uses in colliery railways, industry and reservoirs – conditions are included to ensure action is taken if unforeseen problems come up during the construction period.

“The site is also in the Coal Authority’s defined Development High Risk Area,” the report said. “There are coal mining features and hazards within the application site and surrounding area. 

“Records indicate that the site has been subject to recorded underground coal mining at shallow depth and is also likely to have been subject to unrecorded underground coal mining at shallow depth. The Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Interpretive Report submitted with the application confirms that a zone of weakness/void was encountered as a result of a borehole investigation. 

“Following feedback from the Coal Authority, the applicant submitted a letter concluding that the features encountered are not attributable to shallow mining and that there remains sufficient coal seams to afford ground stability.”