Illustrative images from AEW pushed the eco park idea in the Cheadle Town Investment Plan. Credit: marketing materials

Stockport seeks partner for Cheadle ‘eco business park’

Cabinet approval is sought for the appointment of a development manager to lead on the revamp of the council-owned Bird Hall Lane industrial estate.

A report by Stockport Council’s development & regeneration team will be considered by the local authority’s cabinet on 28 June.

The seven-acre Bird Hall Lane site, in a long-established industyrial area, is described in the report as dated and inefficient, with the £4.4m allocated to the scheme from the successful Cheadle Towns Fund presenting “an opportunity to maximise its operational and employment output and support clean growth”.

Stockport’s intention, as set out in the report, is “to redevelop the Bird Hall Lane site into a modern business park, which aims to demonstrate market-leading high environmental technologies and performance, alongside job creation, economic growth and amenity improvements to the surrounding area”.

A provisional proposed site layout consisting of 110,000 sq ft of industrial space has been put forward. The scheme is likely to include solar power and potentially air source heat pumps, while battery storage to manage high and low energy use periods is also being considered.

All current occupiers are providers of council services and will be relocated if necessary.

March’s Cabinet meeting approved additional funding to advance designs for the eco business park to planning application stage. A design team had been appointed in autumn 2021 to develop early stage proposals.

Should the cabinet sign off the plans, the council’s property advisor CBRE would then lead on procurement through the STAR platform, initially through the publication of a prior information notice.

Although this route will likely push back delivery of the project by up to five months, it would still be deliverable within the Towns Fund timeframe, with any increase in costs offset by savings in design and delivery, the report said.

In any case, the process can be started while the council awaits central government approval for the scheme, its summary business case having been submitted in March this year.

The eco business park is one of three main strands in the £13.9m Cheadle Towns Fund programme, along with a new railway station and a comprehensive active travel network.

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What about a railway station for Birdhall Lane? There’s also enough land and railway tracks to bring trams to the area, all this eco talk without eco transport makes no sense whatsoever. Trams here and the new Cheadle station with plenty of routes would form the basis for a Southern Metrolink throughout Stockport, currently tram free, although much promised.

By Paul local

How can you put a railway station on a freight only line?
I didn’t know trams were in Stockport?
The connecting bus service to the area is good, but of course not all want to travel by bus.

By Martin Harper

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