As regional areas around the UK continue to benefit from the upturn in the economic recovery, local authorities are keen to capitalise on developer interest as a means of driving growth in their local economies. This has seen Stockport Council grant planning permission for two major developments expected to create numerous jobs within the local area as well as providing a draw for visitors to the area.
The first development to get the green light is a £45 million mixed-use leisure and retail scheme on the current Bridgefield site in the town centre. To be known as the Redrock leisure scheme, the development will bring a 10 screen multiplex cinema and several shop and restaurant units to an area desperately in need of regeneration.
As part of the plans, improvements will also be made to the existing Debenhams department store which borders one end of the development. The council hopes that this will encourage a higher number of well-known retailers to sign tenancy agreements and diversify the retail mix in the town centre.
Externally, the plans will allow for the creation of a new public square and the pedestrianisation of neighbouring Princes Street and Bridgefield Street. In order to make up for the parking spaces lost during this process, a 1200 space multi-storey car park will also be constructed.
Redrock has been in the pipeline for several years now and was due to be completed in autumn next year, yet due to funding issues arising from the onset of the financial crisis it had to be pushed back. Developers now believe that, should work begin later this year, the scheme will be completed and tenants will be able to move in no later than 2017.
The other development approved by the council this week is an employment development scheme at Gorsey Bank, located in Cheadle Heath. Costing around £10 million to complete, the scheme will hopefully create 240 jobs in the local economy and provide space for start-ups and SMEs struggling to acquire a foothold in the lucrative Greater Manchester commercial property market.
Developers will construct 145,000 sq ft of light industrial units along with an unspecified amount of what the council describes as “employment space”. The project will also see the long awaited improvement works begin in the surrounding public space along the riverside path, with the first occupants expected to arrive early in 2016 should work begin this year.
Executive member for economic development and regeneration at Stockport Council, Councillor Patrick McAuley, believes the two upcoming developments will help in attracting new businesses to the area.
He says; “This is a very exciting time for Stockport.
“Developments such as these help our ambition of putting Stockport on the map to bring more people to work, shop and socialise here.
“We have been keen to involve the public in plans for both developments by holding various consultation exercises – we look forward to an exciting few years improving Stockport’s offer.”
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