Housing | Stockport Investing in Communities

This is the fifth case study in One Public Estate's 'Unlocking the value in public sector assets', published in 2017.


Region: North West, West Midlands
Theme: Integrated Public Services

The challenge

Stockport Investing in Communities is set against the backdrop of the Government’s encouragement for a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ including Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA). The need to promote regional economic growth, uphold public services despite of substantial demands of all public sector bodies to consider how to deliver services more effectively and rationalise property portfolios and finally, a substantial under-delivery of all forms of housing in the region – private, intermediate and affordable sub markets.

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council and its OPE partnering organisations hold responsibility for a combined estate of some 350 non-housing and school public buildings. Additional government department assets on the ‘A6 Town Centre Corridor area’ (a total of 11 properties) add a further 20.5 acres of developable land. This estate profile in Stockport enabled OPE partners to look to substantially enhance the town centre and town centre gateways, have a positive impact on the regeneration of neighbourhood centres and districts within the borough, rationalise a wide group of central and local government services and bringing forward substantial land for new housing.

The vision

Stockport OPE partners committed to work collaboratively and use assets under their control to help support, transform and improve the way services were delivered through a fully rationalised and regenerated public sector estate and that property could be a vehicle for delivering service transformation, and in turn deliver a considerable number of new homes.

Actions

A borough wide network of ten community hub projects has been established which will deliver all OPE outputs. Three of these hubs, are now being advanced through a business case process, representing an initial phase of the overall localities plan. In addition, a series of town centre specific projects are moving ahead at a pace:

  • DWP Job Centre Plus staff relocation from the town centre to community locations and the repurposing of existing building potentially for 80 apartments
  • co-location of health sector and council middle and back office staff, facilitating the release of land to generate a further 100+ dwellings on the site
  • a combined facility accommodating the fire and rescue and ambulance services, unlocking up to six sites for housing and employment land
  • the relocation of the further education college to the town centre and disposal of existing Greek Street site to the Homes and Communities Agency.

The college was operating from a campus that, at just under 11 acres was some 200,000- 300,000 sq ft too large for its needs. Using E-Mandate data, the college was also spending some circa £3.5 million per annum on estate running costs. The site was sold to the Homes and Communities Agency, generating a capital receipt of £77million.

Architects have been appointed to develop a housing master plan proposal for the existing site, which enables the college to continue to operate as normal until 2019. The master plan looks to bring forward some 450 new housing units and regenerate a key gateway to the town centre from the south, situated as it is on the main A6 arterial route.

Outcomes

The outputs from the OPE supported project are:

  • the development of a masterplan to anticipate the delivery of over 450 new homes
  • a comprehensive, holistic view of the borough, it’s communities, their performance and the services provided to them
  • a close view of existing service strategies and those proposed to deliver better community outcomes more effectively • clarity around revenue stream savings
  • sharper visibility of housing numbers potentially generated and employment land released
  • achievable targets for floor space reduction in the public sector estate and a substantial integration of public sector services
  • a strategy to deliver a full refresh of the estate needed to support those services; all interlinked and interdependent.

Next steps

More projects are now emerging. Specific next steps are to bring forward the remainder of the community based facilities which will unlock significant savings and substantially reduce the overall floor space of the public sector facilities that they will replace.

For further information please contact our Regional Programme Managers for North West and West Midlands.