Stockport's biggest year continues at pace with its £1billion regeneration plans

The council’s transformation is creating a vibrant, thriving town centre fit for the future

Stockport's biggest year continues at pace with its £1billion regeneration plans

Hot on the heels of being named the best place to live in the North West by the Sunday Times last week, and this week with the opening of the state of the art interchange and new Viaduct Park, Stockport is not slowing the pace on its ambitious £1 billion programme of investment to make it a place to attract individuals and business to live, work, play and connect.

Stockport’s revival started some time ago but now it’s full steam ahead, with the radical and exciting programme of investment, positioning beautiful heritage buildings next to great new architecture.

Stockport Council’s transformation is creating a vibrant, thriving town centre fit for the future.

It is no longer just a place to go shopping; it’s becoming a place to set up a home, build a business, enjoy nature, and spend time with friends—a place everyone can be proud of.

Cllr Colin MacAlister, Cabinet Member for Economy, Regeneration and Housing, said: “Stockport has one of the largest regeneration programmes nationally - so it’s a very exciting time for the borough with many developments being delivered that people are now beginning to see, such as Stockport Interchange and our fabulous new Viaduct Park.

"This year will see many of our most significant regeneration projects come to fruition. The Council is busy with projects in Merseyway, including Stockroom - the brand new interactive learning and discovery centre, the redevelopment of the former BHS building, which is attracting national retailers whilst making sure the centre has greenery with attractive places to walk through and rest.”

Our new state-of-the-art transport hub will seamlessly connect Stockport Exchange, the train station and the town centre via a new walking and cycling bridge - it will be the centrepiece of Stockport’s public transport.

The residential side of this development will complete in May – connecting urban living with landmark greenspace and transport connectivity.

A masterplan for the award-wining Stockport Exchange site was approved in 2014, with 1, 2 and 3 Stockport Exchange all now fully constructed.

It is already providing high quality, accessible and sustainable work space right next to the train station, with the first office block fully let in under six months, the second building also now fully occupied and the third recently completed, with three Grade A commercial offices, two multi-storey car parks and a hotel. Tenants include Stagecoach, MusicMagpie, Holiday Inn Express, Sainsbury’s, BASF and Industrials REIT.

Plans will be submitted at the end of March by the council and nationwide placemaker Muse to create the next chapter, Phase 4, of this development.

It will outline plans for an 60,000 sq ft office building, that will continue to attract new employers and jobs to the town, with ground floor spaces for shops, cafes, bars or restaurants and a fully accessible and high quality landscaped public spaces and approach to the railway station.

The plans for 100 apartments on the site will cater to Stockport’s growing demand for high-quality accommodation that provides a competitive alternative to neighbouring Manchester, as well as an additional 185,000 sq ft of Grade A office space and up to 100 residential apartments

Demolition of five properties (76 - 84 Wellington Road South) has been completed by PP O’Connor, appointed by the council last year to make way for future phases. The properties had been unoccupied for some time and fallen into a state of disrepair.

The removal of the buildings opens up views into the wider Stockport Exchange estate and temporary landscaping will be put where the buildings once stood.  Work is also underway for a temporary artwork feature at the junction of the A6 and Railway Road.

Elsewhere in the town centre, work is progressing on Stockport’s innovative space for creativity, discovery and inspiration at the heart of the town centre, Stockroom, which will open later this Winter.

Stockroom will be a fantastic, accessible, family-friendly space in Merseyway, which will feature a library service and children’s library, a high-quality cafe and bistro, access to Stockport’s heritage and archives collection, a vibrant programme of arts, creativity and discovery, new interpretations of our museum collections and photography, two large multi-use studio spaces, enhanced amenities for people with a disability, direct access to over 800 car parking spaces that include designated disabled and family spaces, and a multifaith room.

With funds from the council and Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation, late-18th Century Weir Mill, is undergoing a £60million transformation by Capital & Centric to create more than 250 apartments in the restored listed mill buildings and two neighbouring new-build blocks.

New greenery, outdoor space, and a mix of independent bars, restaurants, and shops will see Weir Mill become a stand-out destination on the banks of the Mersey River.

The former BHS building on Merseyway will also welcome a new JD Sports flagship store and Poundland in the spring.

The Council has invested in new public realm along Merseyway, the old herringbone brick paving has been replaced with granite and stone slabs and a variety of new seating and planters are being installed to add greenery making the area an attractive place to walk through and rest.

In addition, Stockport’s historic Underbanks continues to live up to the Sunday Times’s description as ‘one of the coolest little corners of the country’. With support from the council, The National Lottery Heritage Fund and many partners, a host of  developments will come to fruition in 2024.

In January, demolition work started at 29-35 Little Underbank by developers Hall and Co with 12 apartments available to purchase, as well as three commercial units, which should be completed by early 2025.

At the former Santander Bank on Great Underbank, plans are underway which will see it transformed into shared workspace over three floors. The area also continues to be a magnet for creatives and independent businesses.

The ground floor of the iconic White Lion building, one of Greater Manchester’s most historic pubs, is also set to re-open next month after being vacant for more than 10 years. The Grade II listed building was acquired by the council as part of the £7m investment into the regeneration of the Market Place and Underbanks.

The upper floors were transformed into 11 luxury apartments in 2020,  and the pub has been refurbished by Jon Dootson and Paul Astill – who both have extensive experience within the licensed trade with their portfolio of venues, including nearby Alfredos, and Tib Street Tavern and Cord Bar in the Northern Quarter in Manchester and will feature a large outdoor seating area and function rooms.

Cllr Macalister added: "We really are bringing life back into the Town Centre. Stockport is not just the best place to live, it’s the best place to shop work and relax."