The Square is to gain a new name as part of ambitious regeneration project
From now on to be known as ‘Stanley Square’, Sale shopping precinct will continue to undergo extensive changes, which the developers predict will take several years to complete. Planning consent was originally obtained in March 2019 for a scheme designed by Simpson Haugh architects.
We wanted to give what is essentially the centre of Sale an identity and a name we felt it deserved.
The rebrand was instigated by owners Altered Space in collaboration with designers Studio DBD and assisted by local historians Michael Riley and Alan Morrison. The new concept has been a year in the making as the team have painstakingly researched the history of the area.
The process was informed by a design philosophy known as ‘situated design’, which essentially takes the designer out of the studio and embeds him or her in the local community in order to understand the needs of local residents.
Lead designer Dave Sedgwick spent a year working from a unit in the centre so he could observe how shoppers used the area and talk to people as they passed. His on-site studio also became an art gallery and held community events throughout the year. He said:
“When I started working with the owners of the shopping centre we joked about the idea that I would base myself there, but as it happened they did have some units free and they offered one to me as a space to work from. So I took my design studio from the centre of Manchester and actually started working from the shopping centre. That allowed me to properly immerse myself there and with the people of Sale and how they wanted to make changes. It was really good to be on the ground.
“As a designer it’s all well to be working on a brief but I think it’s really cool to be part of that community and then you can design with the community in mind. I would never have got that if I had stayed in the centre of Manchester. It was definitely a unique experience, to work from a shopping centre.”
Instead of stamping a cookie-cutter identity on the area, the concept has evolved by weaving together threads from Sale’s heritage, the most striking of which is the new name – Stanley Square.
The team’s research uncovered that the area on which the shopping centre was built was originally farmland, owned by the hardworking Heywood family who farmed it up to the Victorian times, when the railway came to Sale and they sold some of the land for development.
The Heywood family had a young son named Stanley who tragically passed away at a young age. The team believes that the family named one of the streets, Stanley Grove, in remembrance of their son. Stanley Grove eventually became The Mall, which is now the way in and out of the shopping centre.
Dave Sedgwick said: “The key thing with the rebrand of the Square and especially the name change is to make sure that every aspect of the brand is connected with the history and heritage of Sale.
“The name of the shopping centre – The Square – was always a generic and obvious name. It could be located anywhere in the country. So we wanted to give what is essentially the centre of Sale an identity and a name we felt it deserved.
“By bringing this piece of history back to life, we have given a real name back to the area.”
Another historical layer was added to the rebrand when it was discovered that Stanley Grove was home to notable artist Charles Cundall – whose works can be seen at the Tate and the National Portrait Gallery. Though he is best known for his large landscapes, Sedgwick was intrigued by Cundall’s character studies and developed a series of illustrations based on his work.
Stanley Square is part of a larger project by Altered Space to redevelop the area. with works due to commence in spring 2021. Michael Brown, director of Altered Space, added:
“We are delighted to be able to unveil a fresh new brand for The Square which we feel is an important step on our journey to help revitalise Sale Town Centre. Despite the many challenges retailers and other independent businesses are facing, we are experiencing a high level of interest in our scheme from aspirational new tenants, many of whom we hope to be adding to our line up in the months ahead.”
Working closely with Manchester-based letting agents Sixteen & LTL Property recent tenant additions to Stanley Square include Style Agent, B&V Trading, Folk Like You, Wardrobe Sixty Five and Together, with a further four deals agreed and in legals.
Hiya Space will be sharing the Stanley Square rebrand plans, from Friday 16 – Friday 23 October 10am-2pm (excluding Sunday). The community are invited to explore the plans in a safe and socially distanced manner.
Follow the Stanley Square social media channels @StanleySquare for further updates.