Plans for an ‘enormous’ redevelopment of a vacant Stockport industrial estate have been given a major boost. Ambitious proposals to build a new 19,000 sq m employment site on the former Vauxhall Industrial Estate, in South Reddish, have been backed for approval by local councillors.
The Greg Street scheme includes 28 two-storey units across six blocks for industrial, warehousing and ‘flexible’ uses. These vary in size, with floorspace ranging from 364 sq m to 1,265 sq m.
The blocks would face inwards towards a central courtyard for parking and ‘general activity associated with the businesses’. In total the plans include a total of 174 parking spaces, including 34 electric vehicle charging bays, and 24 disabled spaces. The original scheme was amended after the council raised concerns about the impact on roads in the area and neighbors objected on the grounds of potential noise and air pollution.
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Planning bosses now believe it is ‘acceptable’, provided the applicant comes up with ‘satisfactory proposals to improve pedestrian, cycle and bus infrastructure in the vicinity of the site’ and pays £8,000 towards funding parking restrictions. Hayley Knight, of agents Satplan Ltd, told a meeting of the council’s Heatons and Reddish area committee that the plans would bring many benefits.
“This proposal will redevelop a long-term vacant site that has been largely cleared of all decaying buildings that were no longer fit for occupation and could not be renovated to meet the needs of modern occupiers,” she said.
”Your officer acknowledges that there is a need in the borough to attract and retains SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] looking for this kind of floorspace, which is in short supply. “Not only is this a designated employment site, but it is a convenient location for the local community who can benefit from employment opportunities to expand their business and the M60.”
Councilor John Taylor noted that a ‘large amount’ of industrial space in the area had already been redeveloped for housing. “On this site we are getting something quite new which has been well market-researched and is a vast improvement on the dereliction that this site has faced for a very long time,” he said.
However, Coun Tom McGee still had some concerns about the impact on roads in the area, despite the original plans being amended.
“I think comments about this being a building site that has been derelict for some time and needs sorting out are absolutely right. But 19,000 sq m is absolutely huge, it’s really enormous,” he said. “I think the impact of that – and admittedly a lot of it is for warehousing – all the escape routes from there are through residential areas, whichever way you go.”
Coun McGee said he did not believe the applicant’s travel plan had addressed the impact the industrial estate would have on people living on the routes in and out of the site.
“Do I think there should be industrial units there? I have no objection to that, but I know what the scale is, I think that is what I’m trying to say. We need to improve some of those potential difficulties before they arise.”
However, he also acknowledged the need for ‘flexible working space’, adding ‘I think, compared to some of the activities that went on there recently, it’s a much better use, shall we say’.
Councilor Roy Driver moved that the plans be recommended for approval by the planning and highways committee, which was seconded by Coun Taylor and agreed by the committee.
Heatons and Reddish Area Committee met at Stockport Town Hall on Monday night (June 27).
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.