A report will go before Stockport Council’s economy and regeneration scrutiny committee on Thursday seeking permission to enter into negotiations with a tenant or tenants for the Produce Hall and 28-29 Market Place, with the intention that an operator will be up and running by summer 2018.
In July, Stockport’s cabinet approved the plan to secure an anchor tenant with the ability to make the market area a food and drink destination, with an extended hours offer being a key part of the deal. The council, which is advised by Barker Proudlove, is looking to add momentum to an area where operators such as Where the Light Gets In, The Allotment and the Baker’s Vaults have improved the leisure offer.
The grade two-listed hall offers 3,300 sq ft at ground floor level and a 900 sq ft mezzanine, while the Blackshaws building at 28-29 Market Place totals 1,400 sq ft. The cabinet delegated authority to the corporate director for place management and regeneration and the deputy chief executive to run the process.
By the mid-September closing date, the council had received four submissions, one of which was subsequently withdrawn. All bidders have now been interviewed by a selection panel, which has made a unanimous decision on its preferred operator, a detail that remains confidential. Should lease terms be approved at cabinet level, an announcement could be made in late November.
An agreement has been reached with community health organisation and cafe operator Pure Innovations, the current tenant of Blackshaws, to relocate to Prince’s Street, where it will occupy a vacant unit owned by the council from early 2018. Negotiations with Produce Hall traders about relocating within the market are ongoing.
As far as the market as a whole is concerned, the management contract is currently out to tender, with a new operator due to be appointed by the end of March. The report added that the animation of the area continues, with a series of specialist markets due to run from January, for which an operator has been signed.
The council is delivering a £7m investment programme in the markets and Underbank area. A heritage manager has now been appointed to lead on a Stage 2 Heritage Lottery Fund bid, which covers a range of interventions such as the overhaul of the clock at Joseph Holt’s Winters Wine Bar.
Planning and listed building consent has been secured for the conversion of the White Lion pub into apartments by Trafford Housing Trust.