Salford's NEW '15-minute' Railway Arch Neighbourhood

The area around Chapel Wharf is set to be updated and re-activated...

By Manchester's Finest | 4 August 2021

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A group of developers (Optimised Environments, Savills and Civic Engineers) have drawn up a framework for Salford City Council, outlining the potential development opportunities around the area of Chapel Wharf over the next 15-20 years.

The plan involves creating a ’15-minute neighbourhood’ focussing on using the many empty railway arches and upgrading most of the riverside sites.

First question: what’s a ’15-minute neighbourhood’? It’s actually something that’s arisen as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, a revolution in urban planning which hopes to provide residents with access to ALL of their needs within a short walk or bike ride from their home.

It’s all based upon 4 pillars; proximity, diversity, density and ubiquity – transforming urban spaces into connected and self-sufficient neighbourhoods while reducing car use and making them safer, quieter, more diverse, inclusive and economically vibrant.

Sounds brilliant. So how does this reflect with the area just over the Irwell in Chapel Wharf?

Taking in the area bound by the Trinity Way to the north, the river to the south, Bridge Street to the west and intersected by the railway, the plan hopes to:

1) Reactivate the underused railway arches with ‘Chapel Vaults’ – installing unique occupiers to create a vibrant mixed-use boulevard. It hopes to create “a rich and characterful environment to be experienced, not simply a barrier to pass through or an edge to activate. A setting and offer that is defining for the area”.

2) Create an “accessible, high-quality riverside environment” along the Irwell, with a green gateway created around Trinity Bridge, and improving access and footfall along the river.

3) Supply a more diverse mix of homes, as well as re-develop the Travelodge into residential units, improve Deva Business Park and turn the current Audacious Church site into a residential neighbourhood.

The area remains one of only a few in Salford without any formal future framework in place, so no cohesive regeneration plan has ever existed for this pocket of the city. As a result, the Council appointed consultants to come up with a development framework – and this is what we’ve got back.

A six-week period of public consultation on the framework is to begin in September.