Ambitious regeneration plans continue after a successful 2021

Stockport is undergoing an enormous transformation and the council’s ambitious regeneration plans are at the heart of this.

A place to live, work, play and connect with a great story so far and attractive future plans for the town centre.

Cllr David Meller, Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration at Stockport Council said, “The council has invested in an ambitious regeneration plan for Stockport and the town will see major change over the next few years building upon what we’ve already achieved over the last five years. The Stockport business community has strengthened in spite of the recent challenges and we’re on the road to building a strong residential community in the town centre. There’s also a huge upsurge in visitors who are engaging with our events and visiting new shops, bars and restaurants. We’re confident about the future.”

The council’s investment in the Redrock leisure complex has been a giant success offering a range of leisure and hospitality to residents and visitors. The Light Cinema is attracting audiences and a new Turkish restaurant will complete the picture.

Stockport Exchange has also transformed the area around the train station into a vibrant commercial quarter with the arrival of a Holiday Inn Express, Cafélito, Sainsbury’s Local, and a 1000 space NCP car park. Large, prominent companies such as BASF, Stagecoach and musicMagpie have made Stockport Exchange their home, soon to be joined by O'Neill Patient solicitors. musicMagpies’ famous art installation “Mount Recyclemore” made from discarded electronics spent the rest of the summer at Stockport Exchange after making an appearance at the G7 summit to highlight climate change issues and is on its way to the Eden Project. The council has now approved the next phase of offices owing to the significant success of the project.

Reinforcing Stockport’s commitment to climate action, the council launched a campaign in 2021 to support local businesses with meeting their carbon neutral targets and all of the council’s partners are also committed to carbon reduction measures.

Over the last year many independent shops, bars and restaurants have opened in Stockport town centre and it is seeing a resurgence, particularly in the historic Underbanks area of the town. Some of the new additions to the already thriving Market Place and Underbanks include Top of the Town Vintage, Ginkgo, Enigma, Norton Bar, Stockport Gin and the soon to open Yellow Hamer and joining, award winning restaurant, Where the Light Gets In and the popular Produce Hall. The opening of a French restaurant in the New Year in the historic Winter’s building, which has undergone a sensitive restoration, will complete the picture. The Underbanks has also been bustling with the creation of new public art with full building height pieces from acclaimed artists such as Qubek and Paintsmiths.

Totally Stockport’s Giant Leap Forward frogs returned for another year, after first appearing in 2019, adding fun, interest and colour across the borough. They have recently been auctioned in aid of St Anne’s Hospice raising a massive £35,000 for the charity.

Stockport also had some fantastic events during the last six months with countless people supporting the town’s Food and Drink Festival, Beer Week and the cycling festival. A great return on investment was made from these noteworthy events and plans for more exciting events for residents in 2022 are underway as well as continued support for local businesses.

As we move into 2022, there’s a lot of work planned around Merseyway which has been hit hard by changes in shopping habits. The council made the decision to purchase the centre to respond to these challenges and the former M&S is being converted into offices to bring more activity into the centre. Plans have also been approved to put a new 21st Century library at the heart of a new £14.5m, government funded development in Merseyway, which aims to bring thousands of visitors back to Stockport. There are still a couple of steps to go but the decision would mean that Stockport’s town centre library services will move from the current Central Library building on the A6 into Stockroom, a new learning and discovery space funded by the Government’s Future High Streets Fund.

Improvements to footpaths, walkways and public realm on Merseyway should start in 2022 and plans for an Innovation Centre to support new start up and growing businesses wishing to locate or expand in the town centre are progressing. The former town centre BHS store is also being converted into two modern retail outlets.

In response to the Covid crisis, One Stockport was launched in summer 2020, comprising of a range of partners and organisations from across the borough. This new initiative is helping to maintain a safe and vibrant experience for visitors and businesses in the town centre. A campaign has also recently launched called “It’s time to…” fronted by Stockport born actor Will Mellor to encourage the public to return and use local businesses both in the town centre and districts of Stockport.

The creation of the Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation in 2019 to generate Stockport’s ground breaking new neighbourhood in Town Centre West means Stockport is tackling future housing need and the changing role of town centres through community, sustainability and innovation.

Stockport’s desire to create a residential community in the town centre has resulted in a number of housing projects including the Mailbox, the conversion of the former Royal Mail sorting office into 117 new apartments and workspace available for private rent. At St Thomas’s Gardens a dementia facility with room for 70 residents is planned. The listed workhouse and infirmary buildings will be brought back into use as part of the project creating a multi-generational neighbourhood with housing for social rent and shared ownership. Royal George Village, in between Greek Street and Wellington Road South, will see the former Metropolitan Girls’ School converted into shared office space for new and existing businesses and 442 apartments will available when the project is completed.

The historic Weir Mill close to the Victorian viaduct is being repurposed to house a new community starting in 2022. There will be 253 new apartments, office space and significant green space for the town. The former Sainsbury’s site in the town centre has also been purchased by a developer who will be presenting plans for 550 apartments early next year. Two other sites in Piccadilly are also going ahead in 2022 providing up to 600 homes.

Stockport’s rail connections to both London (2 hours) and Manchester (8 minutes) are a fantastic asset to attract businesses, residents and visitors to the town. Stockport being outside of the city centre means more cost effective access to city-living benefits but with a better quality of life.

Work started in August on the town’s new transport interchange, which will provide a new bus station, link to the town’s railway station, and a new public park in the heart of the town centre, creating much need green space. The old bus station has already been demolished, with a temporary station created on Heaton Lane, while negotiations to extend the East Didsbury line of the Metrolink into the town centre are already underway.