Hale village is to get a new community centre and library after plans were approved by Trafford Council.
The decision, confirmed last night at a meeting of the planning and development committee, represents the culmination of a five-year campaign spearheaded by the Hale Community Trust and guarantees the presence of library facilities in Hale.
It means that a new 6,000 sq ft community centre and library will be built on the site of the current bowling green pavilion.
The new development will be funded by the sale of the current library site on Leigh Road and Addison Road, for residential development by Hillcrest Homes.
That development includes six semi-detached three-bedroom homes, with a mixed-use building in the same architectural style fronting onto Leigh Road and providing a ground floor retail space with two two-bedroom apartments above.
The planning process had gone on for over four years, with a revised application put together last year after concerns were raised relating to parking, noise, building architecture and the environment.
But the scheme had overwhelming support from the local community – just six letters of objection were produced during the public consultation process, against 154 in favour – and the green light has finally been given.
Grahame Elliott, chair of the Hale Community Trust board, said: “We are delighted that proposals to create a new community centre and library in the centre of Hale have finally been given the go ahead.
“The decision taken by Trafford Council reflects the determination of Hale Community Trust to ensure that the public library service is protected for local residents. The approved plans will also enhance local community services with plans for a new community event space and café along with improved facilities for bowling club members, residents, senior citizens and community groups.
“HCT has worked hard with local residents, community groups and businesses to ensure the plans for both the existing Hale Library site and the proposed new library development reflect the needs of local people. It will continue to ensure local residents are involved in the development process.
“Under the proposals the new community centre and library will be built before the existing library is demolished to make way for the planned residential and retail units.
“Once legal contracts are signed, HCT will be able to announce the start on site and anticipated completion dates.”
In addition to housing the new library on the first floor, which can accommodate 17,000 books, the new centre has been designed to provide a multi-purpose event space alongside a cafe, open to the whole community.
Ground floor accommodation provides a lounge for bowling club members and a dedicated space for a seniors’ group who meet daily at the existing bowling club.
And a flexible open plan community café/event/exhibition space can also cater for events and exhibitions, together with a new kitchen.
James Payne, Managing Director of Hillcrest Homes, added: “This is great news and a just reward for all the effort and commitment invested in developing the proposals for the new community centre and library. This will be facilitated by development of our new homes on the current library site and we’re looking forward to creating this fantastic new facility for Hale residents and the wider community to enjoy.”
The existing library on Leigh Road will remain open until the new library is built.