Retail Property - Extreme sports mooted to drive footfall at malls

Several of the UK's major shopping centre landlords are investigating grafting major leisure attractions onto their malls in an effort to increase footfall and stretch the shopping day.

In Manchester, Peel Holdings has applied to build the UK's biggest indoor ski slope next to The Trafford Centre, and other landlords are in talks with a new venture from Extreme Group about giving their shopping centres skate and wave parks.

The planning application made to Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council by Peel Holdings could lead to the creation of the UK's biggest indoor snowsports destination on an 11 acre (4.5 hectare) site, adjacent to The Trafford Centre.

The proposed development, to be known as Chill Factor E, covers 250,000 sq ft (23,225 sq m), and is scheduled to open in 2006.

The scheme will include real snow slopes for skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing, as well as ice climbing, a climbing wall and an indoor skatepark.

Retail units, bars and restaurants will also feature.

Meanwhile, Extreme Group, the organi-sation behind the Extreme Sports Channel, is in talks with several major shopping centre operators about developing a chain of leisure and retail facilities anchored around skate and wave parks.

At the Gateway shopping centre in Durban, South Africa, Old Mutual Properties has turned a giant permanent surfing wave into a major visitor attraction.

Dave Ingram, director of Extreme Group's subsidiary Ex Parks, said talks were at an advanced stage with landlords about bringing a similar attraction to the UK.

FaulknerBrowns is architect for The Trafford Centre scheme, and the letting agent is Capital Retail.

Peel Holdings' planning consultant is Rapleys.