Stockport Town Hall, a major landmark and seat of democracy for almost 100 years, has been reclassified as a Grade II* listed building.
Only 8% of the UK's 370,000 listed buildings are Grade II* listed, the second top grading. Stockport Town Hall, which will celebrate the centenary of its official opening in July 2008, was previously Grade II listed. The reclassification was made by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) following a re-survey of listed buildings by English Heritage.
The DCMS re-designated the building for the following principal reasons:
- it is a building of highly expressive civic pride, shown both in the architectural grandeur of its exterior and in the lavish exuberance of its interior;
- the principal elevation of high quality white Portland stone, topped by an elaborate tall central tower, is a dominant feature upon the streetscape;
- the grand design is a symbolic expression of the enhanced civic identity of Stockport;
- the combination of top quality materials and craftsmanship creates a remarkable opulent interior which survives largely as built;
- all the main public areas and Council state rooms have richly ornate plasterwork ceilings, culminating in the exhilarating flamboyance of the vast barrel-vaulted Public Hall;
- the building has a well-designed layout which has been carefully thought out to accommodate both the official and public functions of a town hall, and the provision of office space for Council departments;
Listed buildings are graded to show their importance. Grade I are those of exceptional interest, Grade II* are particularly important buildings of more than special interest, and Grade II are of special interest, justifying every effort to preserve them.
Cllr Sue Derbyshire, executive member for regeneration, added: "English Heritage re-surveyed the Town Hall extremely thoroughly, and it is now in an exclusive portfolio of local buildings which are Grade II* listed. These are Staircase House, Stockport Art Gallery/War Memorial, Chadkirk Chapel and Abney Hall."