Creative space plotted for Stockport’s Underbanks
Four vacant buildings in one of the town’s most historic streets would be transformed into co-working and retail units with flats above, under plans drawn up by developer Hall & Co.
The family-owned investor has submitted proposals to Stockport Council to redevelop the buildings into four schemes ranging from 5,000 sq ft to 30,000 sq ft.
Each property would feature ground floor spaces aimed at independent and start-up businesses, including co-working space, under the proposals. The upper levels would be converted into dual-aspect living spaces centred around green, semi-private courtyards.
Each of the apartments would be designed to national ‘HAPPI’ (innovative future homes) standards, and feature winter gardens that can function as a balcony, dining space or home office in the post-Covid working world.
Meanwhile, communal roof gardens would provide space for “hosting events, relaxing, or admiring the view of the historic rooftops and views beyond”, Hall & Co said.
The scheme has been designed by Ollier Smurthwaite Architects, whose co-director Matthew Ollier said: “The proposals have been designed to fit seamlessly into the existing urban grain, re-imagining the stepped period townhouses that characterise the area.”
The project is Hall & Co’s second in central Stockport after its redevelopment of the grade two-listed Bank Chambers into the town’s first dedicated co-working space, operated by Profolk. The project saw the building’s original features, including stained glass, marble columns, bank vaults and fireplaces, restored and repurposed.
The Underbanks mixed-use scheme would see Profolk occupy some ground floor space to expand its co-working offering, driven by anticipated demand for out-of-city centre hubs for remote working amid the pandemic.
The proposals form part of the ongoing regeneration of Stockport town centre and are supported by a multimillion-pound investment from Stockport Council, the exact size of which was not disclosed.
Hall & Co said it has “worked closely with the council to ensure its proposals reflect the character of the area and sit comfortably alongside its heritage assets”.
Jamie Hall, project director at Hall & Co Property, said: “Stockport has seen significant investment in recent months and the regeneration of the Underbanks is an important part of that wider picture.
“[The street] is home to an eclectic mix of independent businesses and has a lot of historical significance, which has made it a popular destination.
“The sites we’ll be redeveloping are all underused and in need of extensive redevelopment. The works will improve the area aesthetically while helping to encourage footfall. It’s fantastic to be able to invest further in Stockport, supporting a thriving town centre.”
Other heritage buildings along the Underbanks have been restored in recent years to house a diverse range of businesses, including the Produce Hall, Where The Light Gets In, Project 53, The Angel Inn, The Cracked Actor, Glass Spider and the Good Rebel.
Hall & Co was advised by Broadgrove Planning & Development as planning consultant, and Primas Law as its lawyer.