Trafford Design Code

Trafford Wharfside

A World-class urban waterside neighbourhood


Due to the strategic importance of the Wharfside area, a draft Framework has been produced in partnership with key stakeholders to set the overall vision for the Wharfside area and to guide future development, focusing on how the area should operate as a ‘place’.


This Masterplan fills a gap identified in the Trafford Design Code baseline information for the Trafford Wharfside area. Whereas the Development Framework sets out the broad scope of the ‘what’ and ‘where’, including public realm and other ground level interventions; the Masterplan builds that up into a more detailed assessment of development potential, the mitigation of existing constraints, parameters and robust urban design principles.


The Masterplan will form part of the Trafford Design Code which means it, like the Design Code, will be adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document but will also be a ‘digital first’ document bolted onto and accessible via the Design Code website. Both the Framework and Masterplan will serve as an evidence base document for the emerging Trafford Local Plan, and specifically Policies TP2 – Trafford Wharfside and Pomona; and AF2 – Trafford Wharfside.


The Trafford Wharfside Framework and Trafford Wharfside Masterplan, together with the Design Code, will enable the Council to steer and support the delivery of transformational change of exemplar design quality across the Wharfside area.

The Study Area

Located on the southern bank of the Manchester Ship Canal the Trafford Wharfside area incorporates the southern extent of MediaCity, an international hub for the digital and creative industries and home to leading companies including the BBC and ITV.


Trafford Wharfside is a key strategic part of Trafford located within the Manchester Regional Centre on the south bank of the Manchester Ship Canal and opposite Salford Quays. Sitting at the gateway to Trafford Park, Europe’s largest industrial park, Trafford Wharfside has historically been a place defined by industry and productivity. The industrial and commercial use of the area has led to an inward looking and fragmented form which provides little opportunity to draw people through the site.


The introduction of major cultural and sporting attractions at the edges of the site has created key gateways which announce dramatic arrival points into the area. To the north, the Imperial War Museum North marks the arrival from Salford with a unique architecture, however, fails to draw people along the impressive Wharfside walk. Similarly, the grandeur of Old Trafford football stadium is not matched by the urban realm around it. The evolution and regeneration of Salford Quays and the Ship Canal has created a vibrant and attractive waterfront, with opportunities expanding into Trafford.


Trafford Wharfside is well connected by the Metrolink, key roads and rail routes running through the centre of Greater Manchester. The Wharfside area is a popular route for walkers and cyclists, offering nostalgic images of promenading. Trafford Wharfside has significant potential as part of the Quays for new economic and residential development. The presence of Manchester United Football Club is felt within the area, which is a sporting and visitor destination of international significance.


The Trafford Wharfside area offers scope for the development of further employment, residential and mixed use schemes taking advantage of the proximity of MediaCityUK, Manchester MUFC and the attractive waterfront location.


A place of innovation, grit and celebration. The transition from ancestral parkland of the DeTrafford family to the worlds first industrial estate has led Wharfside to have a complex character underpinned by cultural, sporting, industrial and residential assets.

Development Framework

The purpose of the Trafford Wharfside Development Framework is to set the vision for Trafford Wharfside and guide future development of the area, considering how this area should operate as a ‘place’. To view the framework click here:

The Development Framework seeks to deliver:

  • A landscape led approach to incorporate a range of high quality public realm, pedestrian / cycle routes, a new park and public open space to create a connected community accessible to both residents and visitors to the study area.
  • Integration and enhancement of established and new public transport networks to encourage more active travel and reinforce connections between the wider Trafford area, Salford Quays, and Manchester City Centre.
  • Enhance employment and innovation opportunities through consolidation /intensification of industrial uses and creation of new employment space offers.
  • A mixture residential led mixed use development that provides a range of tenures and typologies.
  • Create opportunities to enhance the visiting experience and retain visitors to cultural destinations including Manchester United Football Club, Imperial War Museum North and Victoria Warehouse to encourage local spend by providing a sense of place around the cultural destinations.

The Opportunity

Explore the 3D model

Click the arrow to open the 3D model and either explore the model or scroll through the annotation. 3D models of this size may not be openable on mobile phones and are best viewed using desktop computer with a graphics card 

Aerial perspective views

Explore in virtual reality

All 3D models in the Trafford Design Code can be explored in virtual reality using a VR headset or similar. Simply, tap on the headset icon on bottom right of screen to ‘view in VR’

Permeable paving options