Stockport tops list in Best Places to Live survey

Weir Mill and the Viaduct

Stockport’s ongoing transformation has been acknowledged by being named as the best place to live in the North West in the annual Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide. 

The buzz around the current Greater Manchester town of culture has also led to a clamour of interest from independent retail and leisure businesses locating at Weir Mill, the new residential neighbourhood alongside the iconic viaduct. 

Emma Cooper, development manager at developer Capital&Centric, currently delivering the Weir Mill neighbourhood, said: “We only launched the commercial spaces for the neighbourhood a few days ago, but we’ve been taken aback by the level of indie operators already expressing an interest. It’s a testament to the positive vibes around Stockport and people not only wanting to live there but set up businesses there too.”

The Sunday Times judges described Stockport as being “in the throes of a mighty metamorphosis” noting developments at Weir Mill and the new Interchange project will link buses and trains around a new park.

Stockport market

“The historic streets around the Market Hall and the Underbanks are filling up with a joyous collection of funky independent businesses. It’s functional and family-friendly, too, with unbeatable rail connections, parks, sports clubs and good-value houses up and down the property ladder,” the judges said. 

Six other locations in the region will be featured in the comprehensive guide, to be published in the Sunday Times this weekend and released online today (Friday, March 15). 

The other places are: Christleton, Cheshire; Kendal, Cumbria; Knutsford, Cheshire; Prestwich, Greater Manchester; Ribble Valley, Lancashire; Sefton Park, Liverpool. 

Helen White, director, Marketing Stockport, told that the recognition by The Sunday Times reflected the exciting times for the Greater Manchester borough undergoing a huge town centre regeneration. She said: “The palpable confidence among our member businesses, including many of Stockport’s flagship employers, reflects the tangible progress of Stockport’s ambitious £1 billion programme of investment and revitalisation. Formerly confined to the realm of blueprints and aspirations on several drawing boards, the output is now becoming evident, creating a new buzz and a renewed sense of pride in place. Many new businesses have chosen to establish or relocate operations in Stockport, eager to capitalise on the wave of optimism and positive transformation.”

Max King, project director at Muse – part of the English Cities Fund which is bringing forward plans for a 1,200-home mixed neighbourhood in Stockport town centre – said: “What’s so impressive is that this transformation has been distinctively Stopfordian with the town maintaining its independent vibe and strong sense of community. And there’s plenty more to come. Our plans to create a mixed residential neighbourhood will not only see thousands more people living in the town centre but also new outdoor public spaces around the viaduct arches, setting the standard for town centre living.”

Councillor Mark Hunter, Leader of Stockport Council, said: “The town centre has been transformed by more than £1billion of investment – one of the largest regeneration programmes nationally – so this latest news comes at a very exciting time for Stockport. In just a few days our state-of-the-art transport Interchange and our fabulous new Viaduct Park will open and, as Greater Manchester’s Town of Culture, next week we are hosting a whole weekend of activities to celebrate the town’s fantastic cultural offer. 2024 is our biggest year yet.”

The judges visited all the locations and assessed factors from schools to transport, broadband speeds to culture, as well as access to green spaces and the health of the high street.