OPEN were commissioned as part of a multi-disciplinary team to prepare a Strategic Regeneration Framework for Stockport Town Centre West. The work has been instrumental in the establishment of the first Mayoral Development Corporation in the North West and the first in the country to focus on town centre regeneration.
The study area comprises of 53 hectares (130 acres) within one of the most accessible locations in Greater Manchester by road and rail. It had been recognised by the Council, and key partners Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Homes England, as having the potential to transform the housing offer within Stockport and support the transformation of the adjacent Town Centre.
OPEN have led on setting out proposals for over 3,700 new homes alongside 1million sqft of new office space, and community space; creating the conditions for growth and investment. More significantly however our work describes a series of new places that draw upon the existing fabric and character of the place and help realise the true potential for Stockport Town Centre.
The physical constraints impacting the study area ranged from significant slope and elevation changes, a car dominated street network and interface issues with the existing rail station. Further analysis was undertaken to determine what existing historic assets, community infrastructure and local businesses could be reinforced and help shape the identity and character of Stockport Town Centre West.
Establishing a compelling and unifying vision for Town Centre West, underpinned by analysis, was critical to the successful delivery of change in the area and achieving buy in from key stakeholders such as local community and Members.
Our responsive and creative approach in Stockport has allowed us to meet two sides of a challenging brief; the technical testing of physical capacity and necessary shifts in urban structure and infrastructure, alongside the need to shift perceptions and dramatically raise the profile of the area. Meeting this challenge called on OPEN’s architectural, landscape and urban design expertise as well as skills in graphic design and the ability to craft a compelling narrative.
Several character areas where established to bring the vision to life. These ensure that future development would be brought forward in a manner which is contextually responsive, coordinated and appropriate. OPEN established design principles within each of these character areas, addressing specific challenges but also illustrating and unlocking the distinctive development potential within each location.
A key catalyst area for the masterplan was the redevelopment and integration with Stockport Train Station. The framework identified the necessity to improve accessibility to the station and maximise the development potential around it, making the most of it’s unrivalled rail connectivity to drive sustainable growth. The other key move was to rediscover Stockport’s role as a riverside town, at the source of the River Mersey, opening up environmental and accessibility improvements to shape an attractive living environment.
A host of visual materials were created to help promote the master plan vision, principles and latent potential of the area. These ranged from engaging yet pragmatic framework plans, to 3D renders, visualisations and principle diagrams to clearer articulate the art of the possible.
The resulting Consultation Draft of the SRF received overwhelming support through an extensive consultation process leading to the SRF being adopted by the Council. OPEN’s work has also been critical in securing the support of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. The Mayor, Andy Burnham, has subsequently established Stockport Town Centre West MDC to drive the process of delivery.
OPEN continue to support Stockport Council on a range of detailed development and technical studies, including exploring the station expansion as well as future green and blue infrastructure provision within the area.
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