Stockport Council’s cabinet is set to sign off a package of measures to help revitalise the town’s Merseyway shopping centre at a meeting next week, paving the way for a potential new-build and refurbishment project.
The shopping centre, which has more than 300,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space, was bought out of administration by the council in April last year.
The council’s cabinet has now been asked to approve the next steps for the shopping centre, which will be subject to a £40m revamp.
This will include a partial refurbishment of the existing centre and a new-build element, with the council arguing this approach would “mitigate delivery risk via phased delivery” and would “address many of the offer, access, and image concerns” identified by the council.
Next week’s cabinet meeting will be asked to approve the first package of works, subject to further feasibility studies being carried out.
This includes the creation of a food court at Arden Walk; the creation of semi-permanent retail and leisure ‘pods’ throughout the development; and design works to the former Next unit, which is currently vacant, to allow it to be let “at the earliest opportunity”.
The council added it had undertaken an undisclosed property transaction around the shopping centre but declined to release any further details owing to its “confidential” nature.
Stockport Council also plans to submit a business case to Transport for Greater Manchester for Local Growth Funding and a delivery agreement to pay for structural and public realm works around the shopping centre.
“Merseyway Shopping Centre plays a central role in Stockport Town Centre as a retail hub, a place of large-scale employment, and a visitor attraction,” said the council.
“The council’s vision for Merseyway is for the centre to provide a high-quality retail and leisure offer which matches the current and future needs of retailers, visitors, and customers.”
The potential overhaul of the shopping centre forms part of the council’s wider plan to overhaul the town centre’s retail, entertainment, leisure, and residential offering, alongside a major investment into infrastructure and transport.
The £45m Redrock development, built by Wates and designed by BDP, opened to the public at the end of November. Stockport Council acted as developer for the project, which includes 75,000 sq ft of leisure and entertainment space.
Tenants already signed up include Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Pizza Express, and Zizzi, alongside a 10-acreen cinema operated by The Light.
The town will also see its bus station comprehensively overhauled following a £42m investment. As well as a new bus station, this will also potentially include a 150-unit residential block.
A planning application for the residential element of the scheme is expected to be submitted to the council in early 2018.
Last month, the council selected restaurateur Steve Pilling as the preferred tenant for its Produce Hall and Market Place, a major food destination in the town centre.
Pilling, who has run restaurants including Dockyard, Roost, and Sam’s Chop House, has begun formal lease negotiations with the council after its cabinet gave their full support to his plans for the two buildings, with the listed properties to be converted into a food market akin to Altrincham Market and Manchester’s Mackie Mayor.
However, the decision to choose Pilling was been criticised by the team behind Foodie Friday, a monthly street food event held in the town, which said it was “incredibly disappointed” the council had not supported its plans for a market in the Produce Hall.