Rhys Owen, Leasing Director, Orbit Developments, shares his thoughts on how Stockport can accelerate its success.
When looking at other local town centres such as Altrincham and Bury, who have both made huge strides in turning around their town centre offer, I see one thing in common that Stockport lacks, which is a well-defined and manageable town centre.
The true boundary of our town centre has always been open to debate, a question the BID spent some time considering when putting together its initial proposal.
There are parts of the town centre which have benefitted from significant investment, not only in cash, but in time and resources too.
This has brought visible improvements to the public realm areas immediately surrounding developments, in addition to healthy marketing budgets providing scheme branding, identity creation and regular communication to local stakeholders.
I have had a number of positive comments from friends and business contacts about these improvements. However they all note how these fantastic new developments still fail to guide and entice them on a full journey from one side of the town centre to the other.
Clear and engaging signposting is a key element of what could link the various parts of the town centre and encourage people to take some time to explore exactly what Stockport has to offer.
We know it is already fairly disjointed and spread over a greater area than many other town centres, and there is the added challenge of various hills and steps as seen in our local topography.
We should look to towns who tell a story through their street signage, in order to get some inspiration for our own signposting challenges.
If we can get visitors moving from one ‘zone’ to another then success is sure to follow.