March decision targeted for St Thomas’
A pair of applications to convert the former psychiatric hospital in Stockport into a 70-bed care facility and 68 affordable homes are to be determined in March and a start on site is earmarked for this summer.
The project – one of the first to be developed by the Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation established in 2019 – seeks to deliver a new-build intermediate care and dementia facility on the St Thomas’ site, originally called Shaw Heath Hospital, close to Stockport’s Edgeley neighbourhood.
The proposed facility has been named the Academy of Living Well and would aim to provide support for people transitioning between hospital and home. It would be managed by Stockport Council’s arms-length housing body Stockport Homes.
The redevelopment would comprise a further residential development, of which 35 apartments would be contained within the three grade two-listed buildings on the site. An additional two buildings are earmarked for 19 apartments and the remaining 13 affordable homes would be new-build townhouses. The tenure mix would be 80% shared ownership and 20% social rent.
A project update report produced by Stockport Council’s corporate director of place ahead of a meeting on 9 February states that the Academy of Living Well would aim to revolutionise the social care and senior living offer, providing a greater range of options for how older people can choose to live.
In particular, it would follow a ‘household model’ that offers the flexibility to adapt household types in response to changes in tenants’ circumstances and care requirements, rather than having to designate each unit as a specific type of accommodation.
The council expects the two applications for the project – an application for listed building consent to restore the three grade two-listed structures, and a detailed planning application lodged in October – to be determined by the relevant committees in March.
Subject to planning consent, the next phase of delivery would focus on further survey work, site investigations and the start of site enabling works, according to the report.
The next stage of pre-contract design and enabling works for the Academy of Living Well would commence after that. The council aims to appoint a preferred contractor to deliver the scheme in the first half of this year with a start on site targeted by this summer, the report added.
Sara McKee, founder and market innovation director at Evermore Wellbeing, a later life consultancy advising Stockport on the scheme, said: “After many years of lobbying central Government, pitching private equity investors and working alongside property developers to try to break the cycle of ageism and outdated institutional ways of thinking, it is so refreshing to work with the team at Stockport Council to bring to life this compelling vision of happy healthy ageing.”
In addition to the Academy of Living Well, the St Thomas’ scheme would deliver 4,000 sq ft of flexible commercial space, landscaping, a new access way onto Hollands Mill Road and Royal George Street, and car and cycle parking, under the plans.
The architect is PRP Architects and Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture advised on the heritage aspects of the scheme.
The council acquired the vacant site from government body Homes England in December 2019.