Great leap forward for Stockport
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Stockport has undergone a major renaissance in recent years and even more changes are on the way.
And what lies in store for the town was the focus of a special event organised by the BusinessDesk.com in association with Orbit Developments.
The event is part of a week long series of articles, interviews and comment taking a close look at the regeneration of Stockport.
According to a study from the UK Powerhouse the town has the fastest expanding economy in the north west.
Stockport saw its GVA grow by 2.3 per cent in the year to the second quarter of 2018 and is expected to grow by 1.3 per cent.
The study, produced by law firm Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research found recent infrastructure developments have helped power growth in Stockport town centre.
Stockport’s £5.7bn economy grew by 2.3% in the second quarter of 2018, and will grow by a further 1.3% in the second quarter of 2019.
In 2018 Stockport was the 14th fastest grower in the UK, however total employment growth was small, just 0.2% placing the town 46th out of 47, with total employment of 118,000.
Major schemes on the cards include an upgrade of its bus station.
Stockport Council and Transport for Greater Manchester’s plans include a 196-home apartment block, a covered transport interchange and two acres of public realm focussed opening up the river Mersey.
Work has recently started at Two Stockport Exchange for developer Muse, a project which will see a 60,000 sq ft sister office to Oe Stockport Exchange built next to the town’s railway station.
GMI had been chosen as main contractor for the project which includes a six-storey building, designed by architect Aedas.
The scheme is the third phase of the wider £145m Stockport Exchange development and is due to finish next February.
One Stockport Exchange is now home to Stagecoach and Music Magpie, with the former taking 33,000 sq ft over three floors and Music Magpie taking 10,000 sq ft.
Rhys Owen, leasing director at Orbit, is one of the best placed people to speak about changes.
Orbit owns 12 properties in the town centre and over 30 in the borough. The firm has had a presence in the town for more than 40 years.
He said: “Many of the major physical changes that have taken place in Stockport are visible for all to see.
“Some of these have made very significant changes to the perception and welcome into the town centre.
“Stockport has started to become renowned in the region for its food and drink offer.
“And the old town should be something that we are proud off and it should act as the beating heart of Stockport.”
Rhys added: “Redrock has repositioned the leisure offer for the town and offers a real alternative to Parrs Wood.
“It’s best not to mention the design, but apart from that and as part of the bigger picture it is doing its job remarkably well.
“One way to change perceptions about Stockport is to bring in new residents in new homes in the town centre.
“This is also true of commercial residents in town centre offices. We have seen this at first hand with more and more companies moving into the town centre.
“In the last four years we have seen take up of office space reach record levels in three consecutive years.
“There is a great story to tell about Stockport and hopefully there is plenty more to come.”