Main contractor John Sisk and Son is set to finish Weir Mill in late 2024. Credit: via Font Comms

Capital&Centric’s Weir Mill tops out as Stockport’s reputation soars

The £60m transformation of the borough’s long-derelict Weir Mill into a 253-home neighbourhood is playing an important part in maintaining the town’s feel-good factor, according to those involved in the scheme. 

Stockport, perhaps more than any other Greater Manchester town, is on the up. 

Standing on the roof of one of the two new-build apartment blocks at Weir Mill, council Leader Cllr Mark Hunter did not pass up the opportunity to tell those in attendance at the topping out ceremony about the plaudits Stockport has been receiving recently. 

Consumer watchdog Which? said Stockport is one of the 12 best places in the UK to live during retirement, while The Times selected the borough as one of the country’s 12 best places for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder. 

The Daily Telegraph has also run the rule over the town, declaring the bustling Underbanks area as one of the top 25 places to shop nationally. 

“You’re not always going to be flavour of the month,” Hunter said. “You have to capitalise on it when you are.” 

There is an undeniable sense of positivity around Stockport at the moment. It is viewed, by the development community at least, as a place that knows what it wants and the capability and willingness to deliver it. 

That is thanks in large part to the Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation, which is leading the regeneration of the western portion of the town centre. 

Weir Mill C&C and Stockport Council, Capital&Centric, p Font Comms

Stockport Council and Capital&Centric representatives at the topping out ceremony for the £60m Weir Mill. Credit: via Font Comms

Being able to take a tricky site like Weir Mill – which comprises listed buildings underneath Stockport’s historic viaduct – and work out a way to transform it is a testament to the work of the local authority and the MDC. 

“Thousands of us have driven past [Weir Mill] for too many years and seen it falling into a sad state of dereliction and wondering when something will be done about it,” Hunter said. 

“Happily, the council was able to ultimately reach agreement with partners in the development sector, to convert it into modern apartments.” 

In the case of Weir Mill, the council’s partner is Capital&Centric, the self-proclaimed social impact developer whose brand has an undeniable appeal for local authorities and residents.

Having acquired the site from Maryland Securities in 2020, the developer and architect BDP set about drawing up plans to transform the site. As well as the new homes, the scheme will feature around 10 bars, restaurants, and cafés, an area of riverside public realm, and an outdoor events space. John Sisk and Son is the main contractor.

It is Capital&Centric’s name emblazoned on the hoardings around the site, but co-founder Adam Higgins knows the company would not be in Stockport if it had not been for the council. 

“They had this vision of what they are going to do in this part of the town centre and they’ve amazingly just gone ahead and managed to deliver it,” Higgins said. 

“I think that’s quite unusual for a council to have the wherewithal and the ability to partner with private sector organisations and just kind of get on and deliver things.” 

Weir Mill internal, Capital&Centric, p Font Comms

Weir Mill is set to complete in late 2024. Credit: via Font Comms

It is one thing to deliver, but to do so at speed is another matter entirely.  

“We only started Weir Mill four years ago, and here we are today at the topping out ceremony. That’s incredibly fast for a scheme of this size,” Higgins said. 

Stockport chief executive Caroline Simpson is similarly pleased with the speed of transformation in this part of town. 

“It’s never easy but I think it has been quick, relatively,” she said. 

“Regeneration is really, really hard. That’s why there are so many empty buildings across the UK. But when you get the right combination of partners together at the table problem solving like we were four years ago [with Weir Mill], it can be done.” 

Weir Mill, due to complete in 12 months’ time, is just one of the schemes being delivered in the western part of the town centre. 

Next door, Stockport Exchange – 196 apartments and a new bus station – is nearing completion, while earlier this year serial regenerators English Cities Fund was appointed to lead on the delivery of Stockport 8, a 1,000-home neighbourhood nearby. 

All of this, plus improvements to the council-owned Merseyway Shopping Centre and initiative born of Stockport’s designation as GM’s town of culture for 2023, have established the town as the feel-good capital of Greater Manchester. 

As a result, people want to be here. It is up to the likes of Capital&Centric to ensure they provide a product befitting the town’s, and their own, lofty ambitions. 

“I think it will be the coolest residential development in Greater Manchester,” Higgins said. 

“There’s nowhere else which has a river flowing next to it and has a famous brick viaduct going right across the middle of the site that appeared in Lowry paintings back in the day. It’s absolutely unique.” 

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Stockport is the New Northern Quarter, Manchester’s Seel Street or Call Lane is now here, the Didsbury / Chorlton hipsters now head south.

By Gilly

Looks quite tall for Stockport. Maybe they will be getting 30 storey towers soon 🙂

By Giant Skyscraper Fan

Don’t let it become Manchester’s Croydon.

By Elephant

If u like high rise flats what about affordable houses with gardens for people who have kids

By Anonymous

Anonymous – Greater Manchester already has plenty of affordable houses with gardens for people who have kids. Look on Google Maps – the majority of GM’s land use is single family dwellings. What we don’t have enough of is high rise/medium density apartments in walkable neighbourhoods. Your current options are: city centre, parts of Chorlton and Didsbury, and not much else. They are all very expensive to live in because people love them but there aren’t enough of them. So we should build more.

By Overrun with houses

What’s happened to the scheme at St Thomas’s Hospital site – I thought that was announced some time ago??

By Phil Ingham

Would have been more truthful for Councillor Hunter to have said “It is viewed by the development community at least, as a place where if you ask for public money it will be given!.

Nothing that has been delivered to date in Stockport would have been possible without recourse to the public purse, and nothing will be in the future if the tap gets turned off.

By UnaPlanner

I never used to go out in Stockport, now I go every weekend I love the place, I hope we don’t see night clubs or too many late bars though it would change the relaxed vibe.

By Pablo

Not a fan of the scheme. Shouldn’t be building something so close to the viaduct and such a height. The viaduct is the number one structure associated with Stockport, why start hiding it? C&C like to tell the people whats best for them and the council like to hear it.

By Anonymous

Lowry’s iconic views are concealed now by these developments.

By John Fidler

NIMBYs are out again, why are people so against progress? We’ve certainly lost our forward thinking in this country and it why the housing system is such a mess today 🙁

By Anonymous

The viaduct literally cuts right through the heart of Stockport. Are we really saying there should be no development in Stockport at all?

By Anonymous

How about affordable housing for people working on low salaries? We don’t help people,who contribute loads who have little or nothing to show for it each month, who are unable to access decent housing. People we used to refer to as, the respectable working class. They continually get overlooked.

By Elephant

People in the flats next to viaduct are going to be really pleased when Network Rail wants to undertake maintenance work on the track or the brick structure. A bit noisy already with the trains.

By WayFay

@John Fidler – some of Lowry’s iconic views of the viaduct were concealed by development in his paintings and drawings. His sketch, “The Viaduct, Stockport” (to be seen in Tate Britain), is bordered on either side with buildings which conceal the viaduct (creating a dramatic sense of conceal and reveal which, some would argue, enhances the viaduct’s setting – which is precisely why Lowry used his artistic license to draw it that way). The well-known photo of him standing on the Chestergate steps (going down from the A6 to what is currently the Interchange development) has a building as tall as the viaduct more or less in the exact location of the new tower block – not as tall as the new tower but broader, so concealing the viaduct in a different way.

By Martin Cranmer

Great to see more good news for Stockport, I see Meadow Mill also coming to life!

By TopCat

Altrincham and now Stockport show that the ‘Manchester Model’ can break out of the city centre, and like London, your manor can be a vibrant and interesting place to hang out. When we start to see this on the north side of the city we’ll know we’re really making progress.

By Rich X

I hope there is plans to clean up the rat infested River otherwise it is £60 million wasted

By Alan

Are there any properties for sale

By Stuart

I have lived in Stockport Borough all my life and seen the changes over 40 years. The shopping centre used to be a place bursting with life and like so many has fallen into decline as our shopping habits change. For me Stockport was never a place to go for leisure and entertainment and ignored as I passed over the top on the train to go to the highlights of Manchester. It is fabulous to see the town reinventing itself with the underbanks and the markets, repurposing of former retail space, the bus interchange, rail station development and new residential developments like Weir Mill bringing a new vibrancy and economy. The borough has always had lots going for it. Proximity to Manchester, great transport connectivity with the M60, train and airport close by (lets hope Metrolink comes soon), Peak District on the doorstep and, a football club on the rise. It now has a town centre that is developing into something Stopfordians can be proud of and shout about! Well done to all involved. Looking forward to seeing what is next!

By Chris Haworth

High rise flats
Will we never learn?
Rise in poor mental health, isolation and no community.

By Bernadette

I am retired. I live in Stockport, it is a good place to live.

By Anonymous

It will be great if the viaduct could be cleaned up.
It looks sadly neglected at the moment

By Carole Dronsfield

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