Application in for Investar’s Stockport College project  

The Manchester-based investor has submitted detailed plans for its proposed redevelopment of part of the college campus into a mixed-use scheme called Royal George Village, after buying the site in April.

Investar Property Group proposes to build 442 apartments with car parking provision, as well as new offices, start-up space, public realm and landscaping on a three-acre site bounded by Greek Street and Wellington Road South in Stockport.

The site consists of six buildings at present, two of which would be retained. Under the plans, designed by studio DAY Architectural, the 115,000 sq ft Torkington Building would be converted into 122 apartments, while the 60,000 sq ft Lyme Centre would be demolished and replaced with a 258-unit apartment block.

The Grade II listed Greek Street Building, the former Metropolitan Girls’ School, would be converted into collaborative co-working space for local businesses, and a new-build gateway building would be constructed providing 62 apartments at the corner of Greek Street and Royal George Street.

The Hexagon lecture hall would be demolished and replaced with public realm and civic space intended “to enhance the setting of the grade two-listed War Memorial Art Gallery and former Metropolitan Girls’ School”, Investar said.

In addition, the 16,000 sq ft University Centre building would be demolished to provide an internal, south-facing courtyard to create additional public open space and private gardens for residents.

There would also be complementary commercial uses at street level, according to the planning application submitted to Stockport Council.

Investar purchased the site from Stockport College in April for an undisclosed sum, after the college put it on the market last August with Colliers International.

The move to sell the site last year was part of a strategy by the college to revamp its education offer after receiving an ‘inadequate’ rating from schools regulator Ofsted. Stockport College merged with Trafford College last year, although both are retaining their existing campuses and names.

Investar was selected as the preferred developer last November to redevelop surplus college land and buildings and the plans have been submitted as a joint application with the Trafford College Group, which operates the college.

Subject to planning approval, Investar plans to start work on site in early 2021 with the conversion of the Torkington Building, and the full development is targeted to complete by the end of 2024.

The scheme would be delivered in three phases, allowing the college to lease back the Lyme Building and Greek Street Building until its new campus on Wellington Road South – which is currently under construction and includes a new building called The Street, masterplanned by Austin Smith Lord – is completed in 2021.

RGV Stockport Final Image Viewpoint 02

The rebuilt Lyme Building would contain 258 flats, with the Torkington apartments behind

Investar’s head of development James Alderson said: “The plans embrace the old and welcome the new to create a real sense of place, a place with character and open space, within walking distance of good public transport and local facilities.

“This is not a gated community but a new neighbourhood accessible to all. It fits the local authority’s ambition to provide quality new homes and retain and create jobs, while adding social and economic value.”

Michelle Leslie, vice-principal for corporate services and planning at the Trafford College Group, said: “Alongside the continued redevelopment of Stockport College, which is due for completion early next year and will provide an education campus the town can be proud of, Royal George Village will create a thriving residential and commercial hub that will serve the community of Stockport for years to come.”

As well as DAY Architectural, the Investar project team also includes Buro Happold Engineering; Rider Levett Bucknall; planning consultant WSP Indigo, WSP Transportation; LAYER Studio; Gray Scanlan Hill; Wardell Armstrong; Salford Archaeology, and FPCR. JMW Solicitors is providing legal advice.

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