Rhys Owen, Leasing Director, Orbit Developments, discusses the next steps for Stockport for it to continue to grow.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the last five years talking about what’s coming next in Stockport town centre.
With the major retail, leisure and public realm works now complete and a number of high street level changes taking place, it is now our job to ensure there is a strong and continued momentum going forward.
BBC Radio 5 live recently interviewed Nick Johnson of Altrincham Market fame, about the effect new foodie-inspired events are having on our town centres.
We all know about the success story of Altrincham Market Hall and the positive effect the market regeneration has had on the wider town. And not just on perceptions and footfall, but also on the reduction of the empty retail units immediately surrounding the market hall.
This is something Stockport has taken inspiration from and is in the process of implementing a similar scheme into the Produce Hall. But it is important to recognise that food markets are not the only saviour of the high street.
While they undoubtedly have a huge positive impact – and could justifiably claim to be the catalyst for many other positive developments – we need to be thinking about the next step. I do wonder what inspirational ideas are flowing behind the scenes that don’t involve filling our stomachs!
A successful town centre needs so much more than markets alone and whatever the solution is, it needs to be very much targeted at the prosperous folk living in the suburbs just a few miles from Stockport town centre.
We need to bring these wealthy families back into the centre with a variety of not-to-be-missed experiences. While strong foundations have been laid, there is more to do.
The next three years could be the most important in Stockport’s recent history.