L7 Architects is leading on design. Credit: via planning documents

Way forward sought for Springmount Mill

Stockport Council is examining ways it could support development at the site off Brinksway, one of the borough’s brownfield sites now at risk of non-delivery.

Carpenter Investments, advised by The Planning Studio, sought a fresh consent for the Edgeley site in December 2020, asking for permission to deliver three blocks of six to eight storeys, comprising 202 apartments. L7 Architects in the scheme’s designer.

The site is owned outright by the Liverpool developer, which has been struggling for some years to make development viable at a problematic site: issues have included the need for part of the mill building to be demolished between the granting of the original consent and completion of a Section 106 agreement.

A report to the council’s Central Stockport area committee, which meets on 2 December, said that it may now be necessary for the council to look at helping out with funding, via Homes England or other means.

Stockport has put great store in delivering projects on brownfield sites in and around the town centre, and this is one of three sites named as at “medium risk of non-delivery”.

In the report, head of development & regeneration Robert Goulsbra said that the developer has to date found it difficult to balance development costs against expected end values, which has been made more difficult by a rapid increase in construction and materials costs.

Goulsbra continued: “The overall finding of the consultants was that the owner is actively seeking to develop and bring forward a high-quality scheme and that the Council should consider what support could be given, including exploring public funding options with Homes England and other private funders.

“To this end the owner has been encouraged to work with the Council’s Registered Provider development partners. In the meantime, the site remains secure. Dialogue will continue and members will be further updated as the position evolves.”

In a project put forward across 2017 and 2018, Carpenter had proposed 175 apartments across three new blocks, with the mill’s façade to be kept.

However, part of the mill’s roof blew off in high winds, and part of the building had to be demolished, muddying further a project that had always been delicate, with issues over retaining locally-listed features and whether affordable homes might be viable.  The site has since been cleared.

TPS’s December 2020 planning statement said “the Springmount Mill urban residential scheme concept is predicated on a ground-breaking business model that will see the client’s project changing the way Stockport residents view the private rented sector”.

It’s an ambitious, scheme, but obstacles remain, not least of them remediation costs described by the council as “significant” at a site that formerly housed a paint and bleach works.

In planning documents, L7 maps out a scheme comprising three buildings, Brinksway, Springmount and Highfield. Brinksway’s northern façade, fronting the eponymous A road, looks to respect the historic mill’s look.

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