Future Stockport plans to bring 3,000 residents into the the town centre
PUBLISHED: 00:00 28 January 2015 | UPDATED: 12:07 12 April 2016
There are hills, but once you get to Stockport it's worth the effort, says Janet Reeder
Mary “Queen of Shops” Portas had beaten me to it. Just a week prior to my visit she had been stalking the streets of Stockport most likely in vertiginously high heels surveying the improvements that have been made to the town over the past three years.
Stockport became one of the original Portas towns in 2012 offered around £100,000 and perhaps most valuable, advice on how their high street’s decline could be reversed.
In December 2011 the government published Portas’s report which recommended that town centres should be run like businesses, that many regulations should be scrapped and rules relaxed and that free car-parking should be made available to attract shoppers.
Fast forward and Future Stockport is a plan is to bring more than 3,000 residents into the centre of the town, and revitalise its residential property and retail markets in a similar fashion to the Manchester. Many ex-industrial areas around the town’s core will be brought back into productive use as mixed use residential and commercial developments.
So things are looking up for Stockport. The Merseyway precinct is a magnet for those who want to shop at high street multiples such as Marks and Spencer and Primark but leave this busy centre and the historic areas around Underbank and the market place are being re-invented as Stockport Old Town with younger independent boutiques and cafes.
If Ms Portas was wearing her trademark high heels I wonder how she navigated the equally vertiginous alleyways leading up to the stunning architecture of the Victorian market? It’s a fantastic part of the town and a programme of events throughout the year has attracted the crowds. It doesn’t take a great leap of the imagination to see how this could be transformed into a “Covent Garden of the North” in future.