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23 Dec 2021

We look back on 2021 at TraffordCity

2021 has certainly been a year to remember for TraffordCity.

Peel L&P’s TraffordCity continues to evolve, and we are entering a period of development on a breadth and scale not seen since the Trafford Centre was built over 20 years ago. Over the next 20 years, TraffordCity will be boosted by approximately £2.6 billion.

TraffordCity is set to evolve to become the most experiential retail and leisure destination in the UK and continuing to work in partnership will be key to this.

The importance of community, and building a thriving, diverse and sustainable community is at the heart of everything. And with plenty of advancements in our pleasure offerings; exciting and innovative partnerships and the unveiling of Trafford Palazzo, it has been an exciting year for TraffordCity.

Join us in taking a look back on 2021. 

A year of firsts

In September, planning was granted for the North West’s first inland surfing lagoon

Modern Surf artists impression

TraffordCity will become home to the North West’s first inland surfing lagoon after detailed planning permission has been granted. The multi-million-pound plans would see the former container-base site transformed into a world-class surfing lagoon, within a well-designed and safe cove environment that is accessible to people of all ages and abilities. 

Powered by Wavegarden, the world leader in man-made, wave-generating technologies, the proposed surfing complex will create consistent waves, perfect for beginners, learners and professionals alike to test their skills. 

And that hasn’t been the only excited first, for TraffordCity this year...

Going back to the start of this year, plans continued to accelerate for Port Salford: The UK’s first tri-modal inland waterway port

Port Salford

This ground-breaking development at Port Salford is to include an inland port, rail link, container terminal facility and 1.5m sq ft of logistics floor space. It will support 16 trains a day and has the capacity to support full European 775m-long trains. It will have good rail access to the Port of Liverpool and to the West Coast Main Line north and south. 

The planning permission for Port Salford, also includes 154,500 square metres of distribution warehousing. Peel L&P has already invested £30M in highway improvements through the Western Gateway Infrastructure Scheme that was procured by Peel who now operate the lifting bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal. These highway improvements have significantly improved traffic flows in the area, whilst connecting the Port of Salford, TraffordCity and MediaCity into the heart of Manchester City Centre. 

A year of building back the economy

In November, an independent study reported the economic impact of TraffordCity

The first economic study of its kind for TraffordCity, was carried out by AMION Consulting. Home to over 300 retail and leisure outlets as well as a large number of commercial businesses, the report calculates that the total amount of business rates raised in TraffordCity is worth over £58 million each year to the local economy.   

The study revealed TraffordCity’s 500-acre business, retail and leisure destination boosts the Greater Manchester economy by a gross annual GVA of £808 million each year. 

To date, Peel L&P has invested £1.6 billion into TraffordCity which started with the development of The Trafford Centre in 1996.  

Therme artists impression

With a further £2.6 billion earmarked for investment over the next 15 years, there’s an abundance of exciting projects in the pipeline including the creation of a new £250 million health and wellbeing resort, Therme Manchester. Further pipeline projects include the £60 million surf park, Modern Surf plus eight new all-weather football pitches. 

A year in which we saw revitalisation in retail

Our vibrant TraffordCity destination attracts more than 40 million visits each year. And comprises one of the most important clusters of retail and leisure activities within the North of England. Adding to this, we have seen confidence build in the retail and leisure sector.  

In April, Peel L&P acquired the exceptional retail, leisure, and entertainment destination Trafford Palazzo, located at the heart of TraffordCity.

Barton Square

Following an extensive building work in 2019/20 which delivered the fully covered glass-domed roof, granite floor finishes, and an additional floor to provide more than 110,000 sq ft of additional retail and leisure space. The destination already attracts five million visitors a year, and Peel L&P’s masterplan envisages Trafford Palazzo (formerly known as Barton Square) building on its existing success by providing best in class retail space and backdrop for global brands to showcase flagship stores, new design concepts and product ranges. 

And in November, we unveiled the rebranded Trafford Palazzo 

Previously known as ‘Barton Square’, Peel L&P unveiled the rebranded ‘Trafford Palazzo’ with a sensational weekend of activity including ‘living statues’, opera and pop shows, energetic dance performances, a stunning orchestra of strings, mesmerizing acrobats performing breath-taking aerial displays. The new name for the 330,000 sq ft complex was chosen by Peel L&P to reflect the Italian theme of its palatial architecture, design, and culture with painted Roman murals, 120 statues, a Roman-style courtyard fountain and glass-domed roof. 

Trafford Palazzo launch weekend

Mark Whittaker, Property Investment and Management Director at Peel L&P said:

“Our mission is to provide a fun and exciting experience with a feel-good factor for all the family to enjoy. Trafford Palazzo will offer quality products and memorable experiences with the very best in retail, leisure and entertainment – much like the bustling and popular Italian squares that provided our inspiration for the rebranding.”

A year of improving connectivity and accessibility 


The £350 million Trafford Park Metrolink line, which opened in 2020, now has six new tram stops, offering sustainable transport links between Cornbrook, Manchester Waters, MediaCityUK and TraffordCity as well as some of Greater Manchester’s busiest visitor destinations.  

11 million people live within a 45 minute-drive time catchment of TraffordCity, which has been further enhanced with the opening of the Trafford Park Metrolink line directly into TraffordCity. This accessibility will ensure that TraffordCity becomes a hub for economic growth. 

A year of championing communities

Tommy's And Baby Loss Awareness at Trafford Palazzo

It is integral in our plans to deliver a vision for TraffordCity which realises opportunity for the communities it serves. 

Since acquisition of Trafford Palazzo, Peel L&P has activated a number of charity and community events. These have included the candle lighting event for the global ‘Wave of light’ bringing together families who have suffered from pregnancy loss and raising awareness and funds for Tommy’s Charity. We have worked with local community organisations like Manchester Gymnastics to give them a platform to raise awareness of its facilities and impact on the community. 

In December, we submitted plans for Trafford Waters 

Trafford Waters at night

Plans for Peel L&P’s ‘Trafford Waters’ development have been submitted which, if approved, would see the first phase of infrastructure work start on site in 2022. The development will transform the 55-acre site between the Trafford Centre and the Manchester Ship Canal into a sustainable mixed-use community with up to 3,000 homes, a primary school, 700,000 sq ft of office, 300 bed hotel, retail and leisure amenity and almost 20 acres of new public open space built over the next 15 years. 

The infrastructure work would create roads, tree-lined footpaths and cycleways and the first acre of public green space at the development. 

A year of prioritising our health and wellbeing

Therme Manchester

Plans have continued to progress for Therme Manchester. Tying in with our year of firsts, Therme Manchester will be the UK’s first city-based wellbeing resort. It will combine hundreds of water-based activities with wellbeing treatments, art and technology to create a unique experience never seen in the UK, all in a unique biodiverse environment; located within TraffordCity. 

And whilst we eagerly wait for Therme to move in, we have been pleased to welcome VenueLab who have added EventCity at TraffordCity to their portfolio as one of their nationwide event venues. The site will be offered to VenueLab for events until May  2022.  

A year of sport

2021 has also been a memorable and historic year for sport, with The Olympics, Euro 2020, The Ryder Cup and the return of Wimbledon. It has also been a year of sporty success at TraffordCity.

Swinging success for Trafford Golf Centre

American Golf store

Europe’s largest golf retailer, American Golf, opened the UK’s most high tech golf store at Trafford Golf Centre, TraffordCity. And Trafford Golf Centre and Dino Falls benefitted from the surge in interest in golf during the lockdown, reporting over three million golf balls being hit; with a record 73,000 balls being used in a single day. 

Further expansion for Fives Football

Trafford is home to two of the UK’s most loved and iconic football teams. We are gearing up for Fives Football who are due to start work on their brand new state-of-the-art outdoor football pitches to be situated adjacent to Chill Factrore. 

And on the theme of sport, in July, James Whittaker took on an unbelievable challenge

James Whittaker at Lands End for Cycle Blighty

Peel L&P’s James Whittaker, Executive Director of Development and Development Director of TraffordCity; embarked on a mammoth cycle around the entire coast of Britain raising money for WaterAid. James cycled an astonishing 5,700km cycling challenge around the entire coast of Britain in 31 days throughout July and raised an astonishing £65,000 for the charity to provide clean water to extremely vulnerable communities. 

James said: “This has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I have been absolutely bowled over by people’s generosity and kindness while I’ve been on this incredible journey. From friends allowing me to stay and feeding me up in the evening, to my cycle buddies who kept me going on tough days and the friends who followed me in their cars and camper vans to make sure I ate properly and had a place to stay at night. 

“I can’t thank people enough for their generous giving not only to the fund but in their unconditional support. 

“We live in an incredible country and I feel so fortunate to have seen all of its beauty. I hope it inspires to get others on their bikes and explore more of the UK – even if it’s just for a coastal walk.” 

TraffordCity is a hub for thrilling sports activities and packed with opportunities to stay fit. If in the New Year you feel inspired by James and decide to commit to more cycling, you can find out more about cycling around TraffordCity and download detailed cycling maps from Transport for Greater Manchester on our dedicated webpage here

A year of accelerating our sustainable spaces

We strive to support social enterprise and create further employment and apprenticeship opportunities. The catalyst of opportunity Trafford Palazzo will bring, will allow us to showcase local talent and support community and charities across all sectors even further. 

We are committed to creating a sustainable city and we continually strive to meet the current needs of our businesses and stakeholders while future proofing our developments and activities in a sustainable way at TraffordCity and beyond. 

2021, has also been the year Peel L&P officially opened its doors to a brand-new HQ office, located in TraffordCity’s anchor commercial block - Venus. Venus is one of the first in the country to be independently verified as Net Zero Carbon using the UK Green Building Council’s definition (2019). BREEAM ‘very good’ places the building in the top 25% of UK non-domestic buildings for environmental performance. 

A year of thanks

We wouldn’t have been able to achieve the success, innovation and opportunity this year without our partners and community. We would like to wish all our stakeholder partners across the TraffordCity estate Public and private sector partnership a very Happy Christmas and all the best for 2022!