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The Trafford Centre is a large indoor shopping centre located in the Metropolitan Borough of Traffordmarker in Greater Manchestermarker, England. The planning process for the Trafford Centre was one of the longest and most expensive in the history of the United Kingdom. Ultimately the matter was decided by the House of Lordsmarker.

The Trafford Centre is a major sponsor of Salford City Reds rugby league club. Shortly after its opening, the centre provided the setting for Shopping City, a BBC2 daytime programme.


Outside view
The Trafford Centre was built by Bovis Lend Lease and opened in 1998: it has of retail space and attracts 30 million visits annually. It is made up of four main areas: Peel Avenue, Regent Crescent, The Dome, and The Orient. The centre is owned by Peel Holdings. It was designed so that visitors enter on both of the two main shopping floors in equal numbers. This helps avoid the problem suffered by other centres, such as the MetroCentre, where visitors do not go to upper floors, with the result that many big retailers avoid upper floor units.

Portraits running around the top of the walls of the mall depict members of the Whittaker family, founders of owner Peel Holdings. A Mercedes car belonging to the mother of Peel Holdings' chairman, John Whittaker, is on display on the first floor mall outside F. Hinds.

All vehicles entering The Trafford Centre have their number plate details recorded via automatic number plate recognition. Since its introduction in 2003 the system has reduced the number of thefts of and from vehicles to a level described as "negligible".


Peel Avenue is home to the high street shops such as an Apple Store, H&M, and Boots. It is also home to two department stores, the new John Lewis which opened in 2005 at the end of Peel Avenue, and the newly refubished four-storey Marks & Spencer, (see below). The space now occupied by John Lewis was previously a market area known as the Festival Village.

The latest development to be completed is the new four-storey Marks and Spencer. This now features an outside entrance to the foodhall, which will mean that customers doing their food shopping at Marks and Spencer can take their bags straight out to the car park, rather than walking through the mall. The Dome is in the middle of the centre and is home to more upmarket stores such as the first Selfridges outside of Londonmarker. Regent Crescent is home to many high end designer stores, including Karen Millen, Jane Norman, Gap and Mexx. It also houses the bookshop Waterstones and two department stores, BHS and Debenhams.

The Trafford Centre announced in October 2005 that permission had been granted for further expansion. The additional , which cost £70M, is known as Barton Square and opened on 20 March 2008. The name of the square relates to the nearby area of Ecclesmarker and to another of Peel's nearby ventures, City Airport Manchestermarker, which was formerly called Barton Aerodromemarker. Barton Square is located to the west of the main building and is linked to the rest of the centre via a glazed bridge. The architecture is based on an Italian square and includes a large fountain as well as a campanile tower.

This section of the centre targets high-quality homewares market with a variety of units offering furniture, kitchens, bathrooms, home furnishings and other goods that are available elsewhere in the Trafford Centre. Retailers operating so far are Next Home, BHS Home, Dwell and Habitat. Marks and Spencer Home are due to open their largest store in Barton Square, whilst also keeping its newly extended main store open in Peel Avenue in the centre. A further 630 free parking spaces have also been provided. Further adjacent vacant ground exists for future expansion of Barton Square.

The stores are open Monday–Friday from 10 am – 10 pm, Saturday 10 am – 8 pm (some stores opening at 9 am) and Sunday 12 noon – 6 pm with some stores open from 11 am. (However, the Sunday Trading Act 1994 restricts this to a maximum of 6 hours trade.) Stores extend their closing times to 11 pm on weekdays in the run-up to Christmas.

Orient and Great Hall

Other non-retail facilities are all located in a central spur called The Orient, a -seat food court which includes a 20-screen Odeon multiplex cinema, Laser Quest Laser Tag arena, miniature golf, a large Namco Centre with Dodgems, Bowling, and Arcade games, dozens of restaurants and bars including The Exchange Bar & Grill, Starbucks, Est Est Est, Ma Potter's, Nando's and Cathay Dim Sum. There are also several popular fast food outlets – McDonald's, KFC, Subway and Pizza Hut among others. A new area adjoining the Orient known as "The Great Hall" opened fully in March 2007, although a Costa Coffee outlet opened earlier in January 2007. This new glazed structure houses five new restaurants and cafes.

The decision to extend the current dining facilities was due to the growth in demand amongst visitors wishing to dine during their stay, or indeed visit The Trafford Centre during the evening specifically for food and drink. The Great Hall houses an elegant sweeping staircase featuring hundreds of metres of marble balustrade from China, and the largest chandelier in the world. The chandelier was designed by English lighting consultants, and then sent to China for manufacture; assembly and installation was done by local contractors. The chandelier has three levels of plant walkways inside, is around 36 feet (11 m) wide and 49 feet (15 m) high, weighs around five tonnes, and has more lighting control systems than most shopping centres.

The Orient section of the centre is open longer than the retail stores, until at least midnight all week. The Odeon cinema is open from 9:40 am – 1 am Sunday–Thursday and from 9:40 am – 3 am on Friday–Saturday.

Transport links

Trafford Centre car entrance
The Trafford Centre is situated just off the M60marker (Junctions 9 and 10). The popularity of the centre has frequently resulted in traffic congestion on the M60's Barton High-Level Bridge, which it is hoped will be alleviated by a new link road, running adjacent to the M60 and crossing the ship canal on a new swing bridge. Planning permission was granted in 2006 for the construction of a canal linking the Trafford Centre with the Manchester Ship Canal, allowing for the introduction of a water taxi service to and from Salford Quaysmarker. Construction is expected to take about a year, although no official start date has yet been announced for the project. Plans also exist for a Metrolink service to the centre, pending government funding.

Services from the centre's bus station link it with Manchestermarker, the surrounding towns, the Metrolink station at Stretfordmarker, and Manchester Airportmarker. There are over 10,630 car spaces and 350 coach spaces.

See also


  1. House of Lords (1995) "Opinions of the Lords of Appeal for Judgment in the cause Bolton Metropolitan District Council and others (respondents) versus Secretary of State for the Environment and others (appellants)" 24 May, written by Lord Lloyd of Berwick.
  2. Trafford Centre (1997) "From de Trafford to the House of Lords" Trafford Centre Insight, Brochure.
  4. Retrieved on 29 January 2008.

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