The redevelopment of Springmount Mill in Edgeley into 175 apartments is due to be discussed by Stockport Council’s planning and highways regulation committee on Thursday, with a recommendation to approve.
The site off Brinksway has been derelict for a number of years and includes two three-storey mills, industrial units, and a former bleach and paintworks.
Developer Carpenter Investments plans to turn the site into apartments by demolishing some of the existing buildings, retaining the mill’s façade, and building three new blocks ranging between five and eight storeys in height.
Designed by L7 Architects, these will include 175 privately-rented apartments, including 126 two-bed flats and 49 one-bed flats.
This does not include any provision for affordable homes, despite the fact that the council’s planning policy would call for between 35 to 44 affordable units at the development.
A viability appraisal was submitted alongside the planning application by the developer, which argued that the project would not be viable if affordable homes were included.
This appraisal was tested by Carillion, as the council’s advisor. Carillion found the scheme would be of “marginal viability” if affordable homes were to be included, due to factors including the extensive contamination of the site, remediation costs, and the retention of the mills façade.
Carillion said the scheme would “not achieve close to a 20% profit margin”.
A report to the committee said: “Although Carillion disagreed with elements of the applicant’s approach and methodology, they could not disagree with the assessment that the proposed development will not achieve a 20% developer’s profit based on the cost and information presented by the applicant.”
As a result, the council has recommended the scheme for approval, but has delegated approval pending the completion of a Section 106 agreement.
This will include a clawback provision of £1m, half of what would normally be expected of a development of this size, owing to the issues identified in the viability appraisal.
The S106 agreement will also include contributions to outdoor recreation spaces at Bonar Park, and a contribution towards improvements at Torkington Park, which have again been included as a clawback.
Planning officers said: “There are several benefits that weigh in support of the proposal, most notably bringing back into use of a vacant, heavily contaminated site that is subject to recent arson attacks and vandalism; and the retention of the Brinksway façade, which will help ensure the presence of the Springmount Mill site is maintained in years to come”.