Continuning to plan for insanity: Therme Manchester is back again

Back in October last year we wrote about a proposed development called Therme Manchester with energy and water requirements equivalent to a small town. We’ve been made aware that there’s new planning permission being sought as the last one expired. The big difference is that this time there’s a chance for the public (yes, that’s you and me) to hold Trafford Council to account.

There’s a new EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) screening opinion up on the Council’s website. You may be surprised to hear the decision from the planning officers on 14 July has been exactly the same as before. You can see the docs here. Let’s not pretend this is being widely promoted though.

We’ve had a bit of a skim of the screening opinion and noticed that the energy figures are actually higher than previously stated. It contains the same omissions (or mistakes) in not saying whether than consumption is per day, month or year. It now says there will be 50,000MWh of fossil gas and 25,000MWh of electricity so that’s a significant increase compared to the last plans. We’re also talking about the equivalents of 833 extra households worth of gas and 1724 more of electricity. They’re also planning to take more mains water – 347,000 litres per day, which equates to about 992 extra households worth of water. So the totals are now 4166 for gas, 8621 for electricity and 6231 for water… this town-sized development is getting bigger and not by a small margin.

Without more public intervention and awareness, a development with equivalent energy and water consumption to a small town is at risk of being waved through a planning committee meeting at some point in the future with no commitments to renewable energy generation or ensuring they preserve as much previous water as possible on-site.

What can you do?

Some sort of victory is possible – remember when developers tried to get permission from Salford Council divert a pathway on the River Irwell through a hotel lobby? They got that changed earlier this year. That only happened with a lot of members of the public letting the council and its elected members know that it was not acceptable.

So we urge readers to take a few minutes and email Trafford Council to voice your concerns about this development. We’ll be taking the following steps:

  • Emailing all the members /eserves of the planning committee (in the table below) saying that we disagree with the opinion of the case officer – there are significant environmental impacts as outlined in this post and it should not be permitted.
  • Emailing saying that we disagree with the opinion of the case officer – there are significant environmental impacts as outlined in this post and it should not be permitted.

You do not need to be a Trafford resident, but will need to include your full name and address so they accept your response as valid. Make sure to include the application reference 111190/EIASCR/23

If at least 6 people from different addresses write to the Chief Planning Officer with views that are contrary to the officers’ intended recommendation then it will ensure that this application is considered by the committee and someone can speak at the committee about this development.

This development requires far more scrutiny by their planning committee than just waving it through. It needs firm commitments to reduce energy consumption and for that energy to be renewable if the development is fit for the future – so that it aligns with the climate emergency declaration and doesn’t undermine the Council’s carbon budgets for the borough. It should also radically rethink water consumption so it doesn’t abstract and discharge so much water.

There is an argument that building this kind of facility allows people to get a “beach experience” without a high carbon short haul flight to southern Europe. Especially in light of the heatwave-turbocharged wildfires currently devastating parts of Greece, it might well be being built at a very opportune moment, commercially. But we don’t have a zero carbon grid in the UK, nor will we for some time to come. The huge consumption of fossil gas and water are also staggeringly shortsighted, given the price fluctuations and dry summers of recent years.

The presumption should be against such developments when they are still reliant on fossil fuels; not kicking up a fuss and demanding change would be real insanity.


Name Email
Councillor Barry Winstanley
Councillor Laurence Walsh
Councillor Bilal Babar
Councillor Mike Cordingley
Councillor Zak Deakin
Councillor Phil Eckersley
Councillor Waseem Hassan
Councillor Daniel Jerrome
Councillor Sue Maitland
Councillor Meena Minnis
Councillor Tony O’Brien
Councillor Shirley Procter
Councillor Michael Taylor
Councillor David Acton
Councillor Jill Axford
Councillor Jane Brophy
Councillor Nathan Evans
Councillor Jane Leicester
Councillor Kevin Procter
Councillor Simon Thomas


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