Morbaine, Stockport, Credit Via Planning Documents
The site has long been earmarked for redevelopment. Credit: via planning documents

Stockport reluctantly approves Railway demolition

Dan Whelan

The developer will knock down the popular pub to speculatively build a 16,000 sq ft store on Great Portwood Street.

Stockport Council’s planning committee approved Morbaine’s application despite reservations about the loss of the Railway pub, concluding that there were no planning grounds to warrant refusal. 

Cllr Stuart Corris said that the committee was “over a barrel” and had no choice but to approve the application. 

“If we refuse this application it will go to appeal and the planning inspectorate will approve it at the drop of a hat,” he said. 

The loss of the pub was the main point of contention among committee members. 

Cllr Graham Greenhalgh said “cherished amenities are being planned out of existence”, while Cllr Corris implored the council to engage with the pub’s landlord about the possibility of relocating the venue to another site in the town centre. 

Cllr Wendy Meikle also expressed her disapproval of the plans to knock down the pub.

“This is not just a pub, it is an award winning pub and part of the character of Old Portwood,” she said.

Meanwhile, Cllr Iain Roberts questioned the suitability of the proposed scheme given the changing face of retail. 

“I don’t think another out-of-town retail unit that everyone has to access by car is the optimal use of this site,” he said. 

Cllr Brian Bagnall was also saddened that the pub would be lost but said there was nothing the planning committee could do to prevent its demolition as the council does not own the site. 

“If the council wants to run the town centre then it has to buy the town centre and then it can do what it wants with it,” he said. 

Located off Great Portwood Street and bounded by Brewery Street and Avenue Street, the site has long been earmarked for redevelopment.

In 2005, Stockport granted Morbaine permission for a 10,000 sq ft retail development on the plot. Six years later, Sainsbury’s lodged plans to build a 70,000 sq ft shop there. Sainsbury’s plans were later withdrawn.  

Under the latest proposals, Morbaine proposes the creation of a store with a 10,000 sq ft ground floor and 6,000 sq ft mezzanine level. 

As well as the pub, the existing Carpetright store would be demolished under Morbaine’s plans. 

The developer predicts the project could increase turnover at the site by £900,000 a year. 

The Harris Partnership is the architect for the Stockport project.  

Previously, Morbaine has developed stores for Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Lidl and Morrisons, among others. 

Your Comments

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Pubs need far more protection in the planning process. This scheme seems really poor im not sure why more retail is needed when so much is empty

By Jon P

Don’t understand, the council say there is nothing they can do as they don’t own the land, so why do we have to apply to the council if we are extending or changing our property as they don’t own that either?

By M Harford

Another bit of history bites the dust!! what for a featureless functional building that will be boarded up in 5 years what ever happened to the resi requirements Oh yes! less yield!

By CBA

What’s the point in any comments about anything in Stockport for the people who live here are walked over every time by those in the council , we just pay for it..!

By C Pollard

This is a dreadful design.

By Anonymous

Now Sainsbury’s has gone in the centre is there a need for another unoccupied building in a center that’s trying to re develop I believe there are plans for housing on the Sainsbury’s site I just hope the tenants have no sense of smell.the railway is a bloody good pub and so is the Queen’s what’s the impact on that business going to be.

By Len Grimes

That section of the North side of Great Portwood Street down to Marshland street is an utter eyesore, with roofs collapsed and derelict buildings. Its time to clear the whole lot.

By Darren

Do we really need another flooring store?

By Chas

Usual regrettable decision’s by Stockport council. More empty retail. WOW.

By Anthony Dutton

Sad day why don’t they take it down brick by brick and build it somewhere else. It’s such a quirky pub. Been going in there for 50 years, got some good memories

By Lee Rogers

Not exactly great architectural significance!

By Chris Dronsfield

The amount of people who don’t understand how planning policy works is shocking. Planning policy through the NPPF basically gives local authorities little manoeuvre or say, and that’s if it gives local authorities a say at all! HMO’s, permitted development rights, converting office space into housing units are all areas that don’t require planning permission meaning local authorities can’t control these developments (even in Development plans) and developers don’t need to inform local authorities through planning permission requests. Only developments that are deemed as ‘major’ or that have a significant impact on a community require planning permission, the ones that will have biggest impacts, are called in or require change of use go before the Planning Committee. However, the committee has to decide whether an application is within the guidance of the NPPF, they can’t just turn an application down because they don’t like it! Unfortunately, this means Cllr’s have to accept things they don’t necessarily like because the decision would just be overturned on appeal to the Planning Inspectorate and the council could be punished if a developer believes their application was treated unfairly. Planning Committees and local authorities are also bound by precedent. If a decision was made years ago regarding a particular site, that still carriers weight in planning terms, even if things have altered. I’m sorry to say folks, things are only going to get worse and local authorities are going to have even less of a say, meaning residents are going to have even less of an opportunity to make representations, if the governments planning reforms go ahead.

By Anonymous

All this empty space that people talk about, maybe they could point me to it because I don’t see it. Sainsbury’s site is being demolished for housing, Peel Centre is mostly full and any units that are free are quickly let. Most of the units in Merseyway are full and the centre doesn’t have easily accessible units of this size that some businesses looking for a Stockport location will be needing. The retail space in the former M&S store is being radically reduced and the BHS unit is being reconfigured. Clearly units that are of a similar size to this are not readily available in the town centre at all. The area itself is a key regeneration site, some of the current units are very run down. If the main concern is the pub, people should remember its got serious structural issues which haven’t been addressed for decades, that can’t go on forever. There seems to be multiple efforts to try and move the pub to another town centre location, I certainly hope that work is successful. Maybe some complainers can get behind those efforts and help out!

By Anonymous

Another great meeting place and old value pub..never any trouble in this pub and nice people from all areas of stockport and beyond come here .great staff nice people great pub

By Andy johnson

No one will go there. Who shops in Stockport? All the best places have gone. Manchester, Handforth Dean and Wilmslow take most of the shoppers with money. However, nice to see some flickers of life on Underbank.

By Phil P

That section of the North side of Great Portwood Street down to Marsland street is an utter eyesore, with roofs collapsed and derelict buildings. Its time to clear the whole lot.

By Darren