The multi-million-pound redevelopment of Walkden town centre in Salford looks set to be given the green light early in the New Year.

The £15 million scheme will see the demolition of approximately 180,000 sq ft of the current retail space within Egerton Walk and Victoria Square, which are outdated and no longer meet retailer expectations.

A new façade and entrance will be created to the centre housing 7,500sq ft of new, modern retail units and landscaped green public realm areas to the front. Relocation of existing tenants will be implemented ahead of the demolition as part of a wider redevelopment programme of the newer section of the centre, that will see 80,000 sq ft of existing space refurbished.

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Walkden Town Centre has been under the ownership of The Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation for more than 30 years during which time it has invested more than £66 million in both the Centre and Walkden Retail Park.

This latest wave of investment is said to significantly enhance the existing offering of the town Centre providing a more sustainable and efficient retail configuration in a more modern and attractive environment.

Developer Derwent Group has submitted a refined planning application for the demolition of Victoria Square and Egerton Walk and the refurbishment of existing retail units, bars and cafes, fronting onto a new boulevard. 

It follows extensive consultation with city council planners, councillors and stakeholders.

A design and access statement submitted on behalf of Derwent Group underlined the need for the redevelopment of the town centre.

It said: “The centre currently has too much empty space dispersed across a large area and it suffers from low footfall. 

“The area where the redevelopment is proposed has a vacancy rate of approximately 63 per cent. Further, the area of the centre that will remain has a vacancy rate of 42.5pc. 

“The proposal will enable the relocation of tenants from the space that will be redeveloped into the space that will remain along with the creation of new modern units for small and large occupiers that will substantially reduce vacancy rates at the centre, bring new uses in and improve its vitality and viability.”

Derwent Group’s submission seeks to ‘redevelop and consolidate’ an area of about 7.5 acres at the south of the site, including the existing areas of Victoria Square and Egerton Walk and the associated commercial and retail units, which are older, dilapidated parts of the centre.

“We seek to reinvigorate an older, dilapidated area of Walkden town centre and create a vibrant new development and high-quality public realm,” the statement says.

It also said the new development’s design is intended to help prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, flagging support from Greater Manchester Police in a crime impact statement.

Derwent Group was founded in the 1980s by the late Kwik Save founder, entrepreneur and philanthropist Albert Gubay.

Its sole purpose was to ‘maximise revenues from its expanding commercial property portfolio to support good causes’.

The company has an extensive retail property portfolio stretching across the north of England as well as significant office and industrial buildings mainly in the North West.

Scott Hall of The Derwent Group states: “The feedback from our recent public consultation was both positive and constructive and clearly demonstrated how important Walkden Town Centre is to the local community. By creating an appealing and sustainable retail environment, we will be able to offer a more efficient and economical operational solution for the Centre’s retailers, helping to attract new names which will ultimately, have a significant positive impact on the area. We are already exploring options with a variety of exciting new potential operators who are looking to move into the Centre.”

Subject to planning being granted, The Derwent Group will look to appoint a contractor in the coming months with a view to starting works immediately with the new frontage being completed by the end of 2025.

Derwent has appointed RGP as architects for the scheme, Savills as planning consultants and Artal as project managers. Barker Proud Love and Graham Sibbald are the retained letting agents.