Stockport Cultural Quarter Masterplan

Wellington Road revamp proposed for Stockport

A masterplan has been produced for Stockport Council with recommendations for public realm and wayfinding around the A6 Wellington Road corridor.

WSP, BDP, Ekosgen and Roger Hannah & Co were commissioned by the local authority to advise on the most effective way to improve the area to build the town’s appeal and economic pulling power.

The A6, currently at the centre of Town Centre Access Plan highway works that have seen around £80m invested in transport infrastructure, is the key route through Stockport, but historically has cut off the town centre from its railway station and surrounding commercial developments and is characterised by generally low-standard retail stock.

The council is keen to create better linkages between new development such as Muse’s Stockport Exchange, by the station, and Redrock, in the town centre, along with other key areas such as the transport interchange, the station itself, and the Stockport College site, which is due for redevelopment.

The report states: “Wellington Road is fundamental to the success of these developments as a strategic corridor which enables residents, visitors and employees to access the town centre’s employment, residential, retail and leisure offer. The quality of Wellington Road, both in terms of connections and experience, will have a major impact on the way in which people interact with Stockport town centre as a place.

“Inevitably, this will influence decisions around investment, whether to live in a location and the attractiveness of the area as a business, retail or leisure destination. Furthermore, the quality of the Wellington Road experience will impact on footfall, levels of spend and dwell time, which in turn have direct consequences for business performance and jobs, productivity and the overall performance of the Stockport economy.”

Stockport Mile VisualThe report looks at four distinct options: targeted intervention along the lines of “urban acupuncture” which uses small-scale interventions; “core activity area” which makes a defined area a pilot scheme; “character areas” with each hub developed in a manner distinct to its area; and “the Stockport Mile,” an overarching design umbrella with linear design elements creating a common identity for the route. The preferred option is a hybrid of the character areas scheme and the Stockport Mile.

This will see the project tackled in phases, starting at each end – the northern and southern gateways, with the aim of establishing clear gateways and for one example, improving the quality of space around the Town Hall, described as an under-exploited asset.

Later stages, which could require the reallocation of road space, with wider footpaths and a central corridor of trees and lighting, would follow, with the core areas of the Exchange gateway, Mersey Square and a cultural quarter around the Garrick Theatre and Hat Museum the last but most important projects to be taken on.

The works, it is suggested, could be funded through existing capital budgets, along with funding from the Key Route Networks Transport for Greater Manchester budget and contributions, for lower level schemes, from Business Improvement District contributions.

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Manchester City Council please take note – A clutter / mess free link from Piccadilly down to Deansgate and Salford is long overdue. We are so lagging behind our neighbours let alone our peer cities. Well done Stockport.

By MetropolisMark

At last something to tackle the awful A6 and to unite separate parts of what potentially could be a wonderful Town. However, for more than 25 years, Stockport MBC has failed to address the fundamental issue around the A6 – the removal of as much through traffic as possible. Sadly, some decisions have made things worse. Back in 1994 I proposed a solution, but that was rejected.

There needs to be some restrictions on large through vehicles on the A6 between Belmont Bridge/Belmont Way and Bramhall Lane. St. Mary’s Way has been widened, which is good, but Tiviot Way also needs widening, and the awful Portwood Roundabout/M60 junction also needs a revision.

The desire to link the Station area with the Town Centre is admirable, but traffic restraint as proposed will result in even more delays to though traffic and more frustrated drivers.

Hopefully, the issues around the A6, King Street/Shaw Heath and Belmont Way/Tiviot Way/Portwood/St Mary’s Way will be considered holistically.

Roy G Chapman
Managing Director
Lynwood Transtec Ltd.

By Roy G Chapman

The big one would be to implement the second phase of the SEMMS link to the M60. I suspect it would take a huge amount of traffic off the A6 between Hazel Grove and Stockport town centre. The current environment along this stretch of the A6 is pretty dire and the road hasn’t really had any investment other than resurfacing for a long time. But this looks good and with Exchange Square motoring on the town does feel like its on the up.

Just a shame about the cladding on that shocking new cinema going up next to the M60 – criminal offence from the planners/planning committee.

By NC

Agree with the comment by NC about the ‘Red Rock’ development – what an original name for a development next to a red sandstone cliff face (I wonder who thought of that name). The cinema development is an awful eyesore which blocks all view of the town as one passes on the motorway. It looks a bit like a grounded ‘HMS Elizabeth’ – the Royal Navy’s new 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier.

Not so sure about SEMMS 2nd Phase. The awful original plans – now thankfully discarded – would have devastated major parts of Bredbury, Offerton, Hazel Grove and the Goyt Valley. I do agree with the concerns of many who do not want this road extending through the wonderful Goyt Valley – Including leading Councillors. Much of the northbound traffic on the A6 turns east of west on the M60 at Stockport, whilst that travelling south comes off the M60. There needs to be some innovative research on the origins and destinations of those clogging the A6 between Hazel Grove and Stockport. Also, we need some REAL investment in the local rail network to offer a truly worthwhile alternative to the car. This includes improved train services to Buxton, long overdue Metrolink to Marple Rose Hill and High Lane,, electrification onwards from Hyde to New Mills Central and Hazel Grove to New Mills Newtown, served by modern rolling stock.

Roy G Chapman
Lynwood Transtec

By Roy G Chapman

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