Stockport College 1

Stockport College outlines plan for campus overhaul

Charlie Schouten

A planning application has been submitted for a £24m overhaul of Stockport College’s campus on the A6, with a team including contractor Wates, planner Indigo and architect Project3 aiming to complete the development by December 2020.

The proposals will see the existing campus completely redesigned; the Vernon Centre on Royal George Street will be partially demolished to make way for a new car park, while a new building called The Street will be built along the A6 to link the campus together.

This will include a colonnade fronting the reception and performing arts building to create a feature entrance, while a two-storey glazed internal ‘street’ will provide a walkway and relaxation area connecting the reception to the college’s art workshops and the Lyme Centre.

The eight-storey Lyme Centre, the college’s southern tower which houses its dining, learning resource centre, and teaching functions including engineering, maths, and English, is described as “poor quality” with “tired and outdated elevations that present a poor image of the college and the wider town centre to visitors and the public passing on Wellington Road.Stockport College 3

Overall, around 22,000 sq ft of redundant floorspace will be demolished, while around 11,000 sq ft of new floorspace will be added, primarily in the new Street building. Refurbishment projects to be carried out include the Lyme Centre’s performing arts building, while the dining hall and kitchens will be relocated to the ground floor of the Lyme Tower with a new café space.

Additional landscaping, public realm, and courtyards also form part of the application, which is likely to go before Stockport Council’s planning committee next month.

The wider masterplan for the site also includes opening up the College’s vacant site on Greek Street for redevelopment. The majority of the buildings on this part of the site are currently vacant and are surplus to the college’s requirements.

The Bakewell Centre and the Whitworth Centre, built between 2009 and 2010, will be retained.

Alongside Project 3, Wates, and Indigo, the project team also includes Planit-IE, Rider Levett Bucknall, Hydrock, and CBO Transport. Wates was appointed to the project via the North West Construction Hub’s high value framework.

The move by the college comes as it looks to turn around its fortunes after it received an ‘inadequate’ rating from Ofsted. Stockport College also recently merged with Trafford College, although both will retain their existing campuses and names.

Indigo Planning executive director, Doug Hann, said: “The proposed redevelopment will not only regenerate the College campus providing new teaching spaces and facilities, but will also free up surplus buildings and land which are suitable for conversion or redevelopment for new uses.

“This is a prominent site along the A6 corridor and its redevelopment will bring significant improvements to the area aligned to the Council’s ambitions for the town centre west area. We look forward to continue working collaboratively with the College and the Council to deliver transformational change to Stockport town centre”.

The Trafford College Group vice principal Michelle Leslie added: “We are thrilled with the progress of the applications and are pleased that the exciting new plans for the much-needed redevelopment are one step closer to reality.

“We have listened to feedback from students, staff, local residents and businesses and believe that the submitted scheme will achieve our aspirations to revitalise Stockport College.”Stockport College 2

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Money better spent on upgrading the staff.

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“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”
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