Barlow's Beef: No one likes a bad loser

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Isn't life interesting?

You can be top of the pile for years, strutting your stuff before the world and then wham, there's a new kid on the block and you're no longer the only game in town. Every dog has its day.

When the Trafford Centre opened its doors in 1998 it knocked out lots of retailers and more than its share of town centres. It was more than the new kid on the block it was the entire block.

Most of those town centres never recovered and local businesses closed their doors forever as shoppers paid homage to the new Champion of Retail in Trafford.

Like any great champion the Trafford Centre swept all before it and the entire project, originally built for £600M currently has a market value of £1.9B, An amazing 200 per cent investment growth in 18 years.

Now, there's a new contender.

Alderley Edge based developer Consolidated Property Group (CPG) have submitted plans to expand the Handforth Dean Shopping Park to include retail units, cafes, restaurants, a gym and a hotel.

Handforth Dean is obviously a challenger with ambitions of moving up and someone would like to stop it before it does.

Guess who?

None other than the mighty Trafford Centre, who see the expansion of Handforth Dean as a threat to their uninterrupted success.

They claim, 'The impact on other retail centres, given the scale of (Handforth Dean) is of concern.'

Isn't that rich coming from an organisation that drained the lifeblood from every town centre in the region?

I doubt shoppers across Cheshire will shed tears. The Trafford Centre had a good run, no more than that...a great run. Any business that triples it's value in 18 years can have few complaints.

The Trafford Centre capitalised their opportunity in 1998, just as Handforth Dean plan to do now. If shoppers in South Manchester can save themselves driving around the M60 and choose to visit a great new development on their doorstep instead that's exactly what they will do.

There was little sympathy for all those private retailers who lost their livelihood after the Trafford Centre opened. It was a giant shift in the retail pattern of the area with lots of losers and only one great winner.

That 'winner' now has a contender.

There may be many rounds to go but I'd say the Champ is on the ropes.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Photo: Trafford Centre car entrance, Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic

Barlow's Beef, Vic Barlow