Leader of the Council, Cllr Hunter attended a ‘topping out ceremony’ on the roof of the new 14-storey residential building in Stockport’s Interchange. The completion of the 14-storey residential building is a milestone in the development of Stockport’s interchange, part of £1bn of investment in the borough.
Cllr Hunter was joined by Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and representatives of the companies delivering the project.
Cllr Hunter said: “The Interchange is more than just a transport hub. It is a clear statement about the future of the town centre and our borough as a whole and we are really looking forward to it opening next spring.”
Upon completion, the Interchange will offer 2 acres of urban greenspace, as well as providing walking and cycling links to the town centre and across the borough. The Interchange will be accessible to all, with a spiral ramp enabling a seamless journey for everyone travelling from the station to the town centre. The Interchange will also be the site of 4,000 new homes, leisure space, workspace and amenities.
Cllr Colin Macalister, Cabinet Member for Economy, Regeneration and Housing, added: “This transformational development within the wider Mayoral Development Corporation regeneration area will bring much-needed homes literally on top of purpose-built transport infrastructure. This approach to town-centre living will help us transform the Town Centre West area whilst maximising accessibility and creating a brand new green open space.”
Earlier this week Council Leader Mark Hunter was joined by Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and local stars Mercury-nominated band Blossoms and Stockport County’s Macauley Southam-Hales to announce Stockport as Greater Manchester’s Town of Culture.
Stockport is already recognised nationally as having a thriving arts and culture sector. Home to the iconic Strawberry Studios, where artists including Joy Division, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, and Paul McCartney recorded, the borough is also the birthplace of TV Stars including broadcaster Dame Joan Bakewell, and actors such as Claire Foy, Sally Lindsay and Sacha Dhawan.
There is also several historically important public buildings across the borough such as the Edwardian Central Library, built with the assistance of philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, and the Town Hall, which has become a popular filming location for a number of primetime TV shows such as Peaky Blinders.
The bid was centred around the One Stockport Vision to support the local economy, connect communities and promote health and wellbeing.
Cllr Hunter said: “Winning this accolade at the very first attempt is a real achievement that comes at a great moment for the borough as there are so many exciting projects happening here and a real cultural buzz around the town. We want our Town of Culture programme to give everyone the opportunity to be active and creative right across our borough and we want to make sure we use it to really celebrate the people, places and stories of Stockport.”
“We also want Town of Culture to give a real boost to our cultural heritage and creative organisations and other businesses.”
Cllr Frankie Singleton, Cabinet Member for Communities, Culture and Sport, added: “An announcement will be made in the next few weeks about funds being made available so creative organisations and communities can bid to develop their own activities linked to the Town of Culture themes of Stockport Makes, Stockport Moves, Stockport Sounds and Stockport Tastes.
“During Stockport’s year as Town of Culture, the Council will also continue to invest in the borough’s cultural assets, with the completion of the Hat Works refurbishment and fully refurbishing Stockport’s Central Library.”
Following the re-election of Councillor Mark Hunter as Leader of Stockport Council, the Liberal Democrats have formed a gender-balanced Cabinet that will build on the successes of the Lib Dem administration formed last year.
In his role as Council Leader, Cllr Hunter will continue to focus on as strategic partnerships, including those within Greater Manchester, as well as Council communications.
Cllr Mark Roberts, will continue as Cabinet Member for the Climate Change, a portfolio first created last year, and will also take on the role of Deputy Leader of the Council.
Cllr Wendy Meikle, a Councillor for 19 years, past Mayor and Deputy Mayor and an experienced Cabinet Member, is Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education.
Cllr Colin MacAlister, a past Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Stockport, continues his role as Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration, a role he has held in both the Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet.
Cllr Grace Baynham, who has been a Councillor for 4 years, is Cabinet Member for Parks, Highways and Transport Services.
Cllr Keith Holloway, is Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, having worked for many years in the NHS, as well as representing Stockport at a GM Health level.
Cllr Frankie Singleton, who has worked in political campaigning and messaging, is the new Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture.
Last but not least, Cllr Jilly Julian, an experienced professional in HR and operational design, is the new Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources and her responsibilities include leading on the development of next year’s Council Budget.
Councillor Mark Hunter said: “I am delighted that we have been able to form another Liberal Democrat administration following the recent all-out elections and look forward to working with Cabinet colleagues as we face another year of opportunities and challenges. I am particularly pleased to welcome our new Cabinet colleagues, Cllrs Frankie Singleton and Jilly Julian.
“Stockport borough has a big year ahead. We have just been named GM’s Town of Culture, which will bring a whole host of events to the borough across the coming year and, as a Cabinet, we are ambitious for the future. I am confident that, with a strong Cabinet team and continuing to build on our hard work from the past year, we will be able to deliver for our residents and businesses.”
Stockport Council’s Liberal Democrat Group have announced with sadness and regret that Cllr Aron Thornley has today resigned from the Party. It is understood that Cllr Thornley, who represents Marple South and High Lane Ward, is to pursue a job opportunity that is apparently incompatible with his continued membership.
Speaking after meeting with Cllr Thornley this afternoon, Liberal Democrat Group Leader Cllr Mark Hunter said: “We are surprised and disappointed by his personal decision to quit, but it is up to Cllr Thornley to explain his change of mind and his reasons to the people who have just re-elected him as part of the Liberal Democrat Team”.
Liberal Democrats had a very good set of results in this year’s all-out local elections, taking 30 of the 63 seats on Stockport Council, leaving them just short of overall control of the council, with the Tories wiped out and Labour falling back slightly. There are now three other Groups, holding the three seats in one ward each.
Speaking after the results, Cllr Mark Hunter, current Leader of the Council and Leader of the Lib Dems at Stockport Town Hall, said: “Nobody can deny that this was a very good set of election results for the Liberal Democrats. We have made yet more gains and consolidated our position as the largest single party on Stockport Council.
“We have yet to have the necessary discussions with the other Groups but, whilst we take nothing for granted, I am optimistic that we will have the support we need to continue in administration and that I will be elected once again as Leader of the Council. This should be resolved in the coming days, ahead of the Annual Council meeting towards the end of this month.”
Liberal Democrats say they are ‘cautiously optimistic’ about their prospects of success as they head into the final stretch of the local election campaign. With Polling Day on May 4th firmly in sight, Stockport Lib Dems say their campaign to retain control at the Town Hall is going well and their activists are getting a good reception on doorsteps across the borough. According to local Lib Dem leader Mark Hunter, their positive message and ambitious plans for the future are being well received by local residents.
“I think, from the evidence of talking to many voters, that there is a general recognition that Stockport really is buzzing once again and a place where people really want to be. With a well-run, forward thinking Lib Dem-led Council, focussed on partnership and progress, there are no limits to what we can achieve. Of course, there are many challenges – not least the cost-of-living crisis – but the Lib Dems are united and determined to face those tough decisions and take Stockport forward. The transformation of our town centre is just the single, most obvious, example of how we are making our borough an even better place to live and work”.
Local election experts agree that the Conservatives are likely to struggle again this year and, with only a handful of councillors left on Stockport Council whilst not fielding a full slate of candidates for the first time in years, they could even be wiped out on May 4th. Meanwhile, Stockport Labour is split from top to bottom as the hard left increases its hold and more moderate members and supporters are driven away. No less than four former Labour cabinet members, including the current leader and deputy, are quitting in May, leaving a considerable leadership void.