The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has approved the release of almost £20m for works to improve access to Stockport town centre and prepare the way for a new bridge into the town’s transport interchange.
The Stockport Town Centre Access Plan phase 2B and the advanced works package for the Stockport Interchange Bridge come under one of a small number nationally of large, complex projects for which ministers decided that the Department for Transport should retain approval oversight of following the agreement of local Growth Deals.
Phase one, which included work around Muse’s Stockport Exchange and the railway station, started in April 2015 – to date, 19 of its 29 projects have been completed, with a further seven currently in progress. GMCA’s spend on phase one is £57.7m.
Eighteen projects that make up phase 2A were approved earlier this year. Phase 2B was submitted in May for a gateway review, examining the legal, risk, financial and strategic fit consequences of the project. With that completed, the GMCA was asked to release the £19.85m necessary.
Cllr Alex Ganotis, Stockport’s leader, said at the meeting: “This scheme is crucial to the regeneration of the town centre, both for cars and for public transport. The whole southern part of the city region will feel the benefits.”
The works programme on access covers projects improving access to the town centre from the north and west and was found by the gateway review to represent “very high value for money,” with every pound invested reaping £5 over the lifetime of the scheme, thanks largely to travel time savings.
When complete, the bridge scheme will see a new road bridge built across the River Mersey between Astley Street and Swaine Street, providing a route into the interchange away from the A6. It will also free Mersey Square of buses.
The phase 2B projects will be carried out under the STaR Alliance framework, covering Stockport, Trafford and Rochdale, and the Highways England CDF framework.