Last January, Stockport Council successfully bid for a new project – Rediscovering Stockport Underbanks – to be supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.
Since then there’s been a lot of work taking place to make sure the HLF Townscape Heritage project brings the maximum benefit to the area and Stockport town centre.
The HLF announcement released some initial monies for the Council and partners to develop the project plans setting out how we plan to turn our vision to transform Stockport’s historic high street into a vibrant destination for businesses and visitors into a reality.
Stockport Underbanks – So what’s happened this year?
There has been a lot of work over recent months. This has included:
- Heritage Open Day events in the Underbanks, giving visitors a glimpse into what Stockport’s main shopping street was like in the past. At these events residents were asked about what they would like the Underbanks of the future to be like and given a chance to have their say on plans.
- Surveys have been carried out along the Underbanks identifying buildings most in need of repair and restoration. Work with the owners of the buildings and businesses in them has now begun.
- A Townscape Heritage Manager who will oversee all of the work on the project has been appointed.
- Drop in events have been held for residents and businesses in the area giving them the chance to get involved.
- Working with Stockport Heritage Trust, community groups, museums, local schools, Stockport College and residents to develop a wide range of events and activity that will take place over the five years of the project.
What’s planned next?
Over the coming weeks, a full funding application for £1.8 million National Lottery investment will be submitted to HLF for its final approval. This will set out which buildings will be restored to their former glory; a range of activities and events that are planned for the next five years and how the whole area will be improved by the investment.
As soon as the approval is received, work on the rolling out the ‘Rediscovering the Underbanks’ project will begin in earnest.
Work on this £1.8 million project is taking place alongside the Council’s £7 million investment into the Market Place and Underbanks that is already underway, rejuvenating this unique and important part of Stockport town centre and bringing new visitors into the area.
Councillor Kate Butler, Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration at Stockport Council said:
The Stockport Underbanks are unique to the town, and an important part of our town’s heritage and its future too.
The monies from the Heritage Lottery Fund will be another massive boost to the area, and we’re working hard to make sure the benefits it brings are maximised. Our plans will see events launched, buildings restored and visitors rediscovering the Stockport Underbanks once again. These are exciting times for us and this further investment will perfectly complement the Council’s commitment to regeneration across the town centre.”