Building on Success: Stockport

Just 10 minutes from Manchester centre you’ll find the bustling town of Stockport, full of independent shops, industrial heritage and great connectivity. The town is at the heart of what is now the metropolitan borough of Stockport in Greater Manchester, home to 294,000 people. It is strategically located in one of the most important, exciting and dynamic city-region’s in the country.

Once famous for hat production, icons like the Stockport Viaduct and The Plaza and home to Strawberry Studios which was used by Joy Division, The Stone Roses and Paul McCartney; Stockport has a rich and varied history that is still celebrated today.

For residents, the borough benefits from the peacefulness of the Peak District and Cheshire as well as the hustle and bustle of the city, offering something for everyone. For businesses, it’s well-positioned to fuel further growth. It’s incredibly well connected with a busy train station and less than five miles from Manchester Airport, the UK’s third busiest, and Airport City a vibrant economic hub. Stockport has access to over 3 million people within half an hour's commute, showing great access to leading talent. This is a Greater Manchester borough that has always had a huge amount of potential.

Stockport’s Economic Growth

Between 2008 and 2018, Stockport’s economy grew by 24%. In 2018, the borough had a £6.7 billion economy (GVA), a business base of over 13,000 enterprises and a high employment rate. It has seen rapid, sustained economic growth over the past 10 years which has led to unprecedented investment.

Now the borough is working hard to grow its local economy to create and support successful businesses and create quality jobs for its residents. It’s already home to a range of nationally and internationally significant companies from adidas to McVities but is working hard to create an enterprising and productive, fair and inclusive, climate-friendly and resilient, accessible and connected community which benefits residents and businesses alike.

The new face of Stockport

Stockport is undergoing something of a Renaissance, attracting national recognition as ‘one of the coolest corners in the country’ and ranked as one of the best places to live in the UK by the Times in 2023. Not only is it a hive for independent businesses, a foodie hub and Greater Manchester’s town of culture for 2023 but it is making a name for itself as a viable alternative to Manchester City Centre, with a wide range of housing options and strong community spirit.

The borough aims to build on its previous success by creating a well-connected and attractive destination to live, work and invest. To make this a reality, the borough created an innovative partnership, Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC) to accelerate the regeneration of the town centre through the creation of an exemplar neighbourhoods adjacent to the town centre..

Stockport MDC’s masterplan will see the delivery of up to 4,000 new homes, 1 million sq ft of new employment space, major public transport improvements, new green space and local amenities and attractions over the next 15 years. Combining the devolved powers of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the strong leadership of Stockport Council and the commitment of Homes England, in just five years the MDC has moved from innovative concept to proven delivery vehicle. with over 1,600 of the target 4,000 new homes completed or currently on site, a brand new town centre park and state of the art transport interchange opening in March 2024 and 170,000 sq. ft. of Grade A office space delivered.

With over £1 billion investment flowing into the regeneration of the town centre and a strong foundation created, Stockport’s future is bright.

Here are some key developments to look out for in Stockport:

Stockport 8

Stockport 8 is one of the largest town centre regeneration projects currently underway in the UK. It forms an important part of Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation’s new masterplan, to help the town become the most sustainable and liveable town centre in Greater Manchester.

The development is being delivered by Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC) and the English Cities Fund (ECF) – a joint venture between Homes England, Muse and Legal & General.

The 8-acre site will create a new digitally capable, walkable neighbourhood that will change the future face of Stockport and connect other nearby neighbourhoods with the town centre. Delivering over 1,000 new high-quality and energy-efficient homes, green spaces, retail, leisure and office space, this mixed-use neighbourhood will redefine town-centre living.

Adjacent to Stockport’s famous historic viaduct, this new neighbourhood connects the town's industrial past to a vibrant and modern future. By working with the local community, the partnership has been able to ensure that the next chapter in Stockport’s revival reflects the needs of its growing population. The vision is for a sustainable, inclusive, and thriving neighbourhood which encapsulates Stockport’s character and heritage as well as embracing future technologies and design innovation.

Key elements of the placemaking project involve new spaces for local businesses, start-ups and communities, outdoor and green spaces, a connected walkable neighbourhood that joins the town centre with existing communities and inclusive public spaces from markets and food festivals to live events.

Stockport 8 is also steps from Stockport’s brand new transport Interchange which provides unrivalled transport links and connectivity for the town, increasing its attractiveness to residents and businesses alike.

Stockport Interchange

Image credit: TfGM

Stockport’s new transport Interchange marks a huge transformation for the town and is integral to the borough’s future success. Funded by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), Stockport Council and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the new interchange provides state-of-the-art transport facilities and improved links between buses, trains and active travel routes, greatly enhancing connectivity in Stockport and beyond. With the capacity to accommodate 164 buses per hour to allow for future growth, direct lifts to the already busy rail station and improved cycle storage, the new development has transformed the bus station into a modern interchange.

The Interchange is designed to be fully accessible and environmentally conscious, incorporating a ‘blue-roof’ drainage system to capture and store rainwater, mitigating flood risk.

Stockport Interchange isnot only seeing improved connectivity but it reflects the borough’s commitment to sustainability. A 2-acre accessible park is above the bus station and is a new green space in the heart of the town centre, as well as enhancing walking and cycling links to the railway station to encourage residents to leave cars at home. The park will connect neighbourhoods to the town centre for all residents to enjoy.

The scheme also provides new retail and leisure opportunities as well as 196 one and two apartments; enhancing the lifestyle offer for commuters who work in the city but want to embrace the charm, character and affordability of Stockport. Cityheart has been appointed as the long-term operator and manager of the Interchange.

Stockport Exchange

Image credit: Stockport MDC

Beside Stockport train station, the Council, in partnership with Muse, has created Stockport Exchange – an award-winning modern business district. Already home to modern offices, a hotel, leisure facilities, and an onsite car park, Stockport Exchange is a mixed-use development that allows businesses to be in the heart of Stockport while being steps from a busy and well-connected train station, providing enormous growth potential.

musicMagpie, Stagecoach, BASF, Sainsbury’s Local and Holiday Inn have already moved into the work and leisure district which has the potential to boost Stockport’s business offering for decades to come.

To learn more about growth opportunities in Stockport, visit the Manchester Stand C15.B at MIPIM 2024 for networking opportunities and stand sessions.