Five years of Stockport MDC: Setting a new benchmark for town centre regeneration

This year Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation celebrates its fifth birthday – five years in which it has moved from innovative concept to proven delivery vehicle. In that time the MDC has turbo-charged Stockport Council’s work to buck the trend of declining town centres and tackle the housing crisis by delivering town centre living at scale and pace. The impact is clear and not just on the skyline - Stockport is outperforming national trends, creating a desirable and vibrant town centre fit for the future. This ‘mighty metamorphosis’ according to the Sunday Times which has recently named Stockport as the Best Place to Live in the North West, has attracted national recognition.

A track record of delivery

Created in 2019 by Stockport Council and the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, in collaboration with Homes England, Stockport MDC is charged with delivery of a £500m regeneration masterplan for Stockport ‘Town Centre West’. Almost five years on, the first phase of development is nearing completion. By the middle of this year, we will welcome our first new residents and visitors to the homes and facilities – with 1,000 of our target 4,000 new homes delivered along with over 170,000 sq. ft of new Grade A office space, a brand new state of the art transport Interchange and a new two acre park.

The quality of these schemes – from the restoration of the 18th century Weir Mill to the unique rooftop park on the Interchange - demonstrates the ambition of the MDC and our partners to create a truly exemplar urban neighbourhood. Our exciting pipeline of next phase schemes – from the £300m, 1,200 home Stockport8 joint venture with English Cities Fund to the new model of intermediate care and intergenerational living at St. Thomas’ Gardens – shows our continued determination to build on this platform of success.

Harnessing investment to achieve transformational change for Stockport’s communities

This is a pivotal moment for the MDC. While our focus has and continues to be on delivering the bricks and mortar of regeneration, it is never about the big, shiny buildings. Our ultimate goal is a town centre where people can live their best, happy lives. The extensive development outlined above provides much needed homes and infrastructure but also acts as a platform for securing the local economic, social, and environmental benefit which will bring about change, including:

  • The scale of development is generating unprecedented skills and employment opportunities for the thousands of Stockport residents who are aspiring to work in the construction sector. The MDC has collaborated with local voluntary organisations, community groups, contractors, and skills providers to co-create initiatives that boost construction job opportunities for residents, establishing inclusive skill pathways leading to employment, and promote investment in environmentally sustainable construction methods.
  • To enhance the town's social infrastructure, the MDC is integrating an early years centre of excellence and a new town centre health hub into delivery plans. These facilities cater to the growing town centre population of new and existing residents and pioneer innovative models of public service delivery, harnessing investment to tackle stark levels of inequality in the borough.
  • Accelerating the decarbonisation of the Stockport energy system. The MDC has sponsored detailed feasibility work for a District Heat Network powered by renewable energy and serving new homes as well as large parts of the local public estate.
  • Simultaneously, investments in Town Centre West’s underutilised natural features, such as a riverside walkway along the Mersey and enhancements to Hollywood Park, are set to transform them into key recreational and ecological assets.

A future-ready town set to become the most sustainable and liveable centre in the north of England

The MDC’s success is rooted in over a decade of relentless regeneration activity led by Stockport Council across the town centre. Having this foundation has enabled the MDC to build broad and deep relationships with key partners, from traders in our award-winning market to senior executives at Homes England and internationally significant investment partners.

Sustained, cross party leadership from the Council has been critical to the mobilisation of over £1bn of investment to create an environment were people, businesses and communities can flourish. This has included a successful leisure complex incorporating a cinema, entertainment and family dining offer, a thriving independent business scene in the historic Underbanks and Market Place in our old town and a booming business district at Stockport Exchange. The masterplan for Town Centre West reimagines the neighbourhood as an intrinsic part of Stockport town centre; by bringing this vision to life the MDC is stitching new developments into the fabric of the town.

At the MDC we are privileged to be part of the enormous transformation underway in Stockport – heralded by the late, much missed Lord Kerslake (the first chair of the MDC) as “unmatched in pace and scale by any other town in the country.” With 2024 already proving a huge year, the future is very exciting indeed.