Connecting Culture - Levelling Up Bid

Closed 22 Jun 2022

Opened 8 Jun 2022


Levelling Up is a moral, social and economic programme led by Government to spread opportunity and improve services fairly across the UK.

Trafford has lower than average investment per capita in culture per annum (currently £3.49 compared to £11.35 in Greater Manchester) and is designated as an Arts Council ‘High Need Area’. Although we have some existing high-quality cultural assets, our visitor economy is much lower than the Greater Manchester area, and employment in the tourism and creative industries has fallen (-25% between 2015 and 2020).  

As part of the Levelling Up programme, Trafford Council is bidding for funding that will improve key arts, culture and heritage assets in Trafford. The bid will focus on Watling Gate, Waterside Arts Centre and Sale Library, and a number of parks and cemeteries across the borough. The aim is to maximise the potential of these assets to create jobs, increase accessibility of these areas and improve wellbeing and pride in Trafford for our residents and visitors.

You can find out more information about the Levelling Up programme here:

Levelling Up the United Kingdom - GOV.UK (

The bid has three linked projects:  

1. Restoration and repurposing of Watling Gate, a Grade II listed heritage building in Timperley, will house an enhanced Local Studies & Heritage Library (which will move from their current base in Sale Waterside) that includes:

  • Research facilities
  • Community meeting space
  • Café
  • Exhibition space

2. Refurbishment of the Sale Waterside building which houses Sale Library and Waterside Arts Centre which will include:

  • Expansion of the Waterside Arts Centre, including a new mezzanine floor overlooking the Sale Waterside ground floor foyer, to link the Arts Centre and Sale Library
  • New exhibition space to provide a permanent home for the Cosgrove Hall archive, which includes Postman Pat and Noddy puppets and the ‘Tales from the Riverbank’ animation collection
  • Increased accessibility to Sale Library, including new event and community spaces

3. Creation of a Cultural and Heritage Trail which forms a ‘living museum’ connecting our investments in Watling Gate, Sale Waterside, historic parks and cemeteries all the way to the Dunham Massey National Trust site. This investment in a signature trail for Trafford will also deliver wellbeing benefits through active mobility and exposure to nature and recreational opportunities along the Bridgewater canal. The investment will showcase the history of and make improvements to:

  • Gorse Hill Park
  • Victoria Park
  • Stretford Cemetery
  • Longford Park
  • Worthington Park
  • Walkden Gardens
  • Sale & Brooklands Cemetery
  • Newton Park
  • Urmston Cemetery
  • Davyhulme Park
  • John Leigh Park
  • Denzell Gardens
  • Stamford Park

To discuss your views drop in to the Sale Waterside foyer during these times:

Tuesday 14th June 10am-12noon 

Friday 17th June 3pm-6pm