Salford's forgotten shopping mall is about to see colossal investment.
Built in the early 1970s, Mocha Parade, lies half a mile from the glitz of Manchester’s top stores such as Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.
Now, after decades of neglect, the Lower Broughton precinct is to see its fortunes change.
Currently home to a diminishing number of shops it is like a snapshot of much of inner-city Salford in the 80s and 90s.
Earlier this year it was infested by rats.
But the supermarket chain, Lidl, has now committed to building a new store at the site.
It will be at the heart of plans for the mall, which will also see a new health centre.
The existing downbeat precinct will be bulldozed.
The announcement comes eleven years after the council pledged there would be a ‘comprehensive re-development’ of Mocha Parade with plans to knock down Broughton swimming baths and open a new recreation centre on the site, ‘anchored by a small supermarket’.
In 2014, Salford council produced a report on the mall. By then only 13 shops were still trading in it, out of 23 units. Then in the Boxing Day floods of 2015 many of the traders lost stock as the precinct lies close to the River Irwell.
Mocha Parade has seen the Post Office, chippie, butchers, hairdressers, Kwik Save supermarket, and taxi company shut in recent years. Just eight businesses remain, plus a highly-regarded GP practice.
The few remaining tenants will be given a choice of of staying and taking up a new unit or accepting financial compensation.
Lidl, which is currently the fastest growing supermarket in the UK and has over 790 stores across Great Britain, has been signed up as preferred retailer partner by Salford council.
Deputy City Mayor Councillor John Merry said work on the construction of the supermarket could begin as early as next year.
“”We’ve had a lot of commercial interest in the redevelopment of Mocha Parade because of its links with a strong, local community and new housing development in the area,” he said.
“I’m delighted to announce that we have chosen Lidl as our preferred retail partner. Formal applications for planning permission are expected in spring and, subject to approval, we could see work begin on the site later in the year. This will bring construction jobs and training opportunities for local residents as well as opportunities from the shopping centre.
He said plans for a new health centre were also progressing well.
“Our negotiations with Salford Clinical Commissioning Group about a new GP clinic for the site are at an advanced stage and there should be good news to announce about that early in the new year,” he said.
“It’s part of a long-term plan to revitalise the whole Broughton area, which has seen considerable investment in new homes, schools and parks over the last few years. We now want to create a thriving, vibrant local shopping centre for the community.
“We are working with existing occupiers about this comprehensive redevelopment of the site and they will be fully consulted on the proposals when available.”
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