A ‘landmark’ building could provide shops, a cafe and health facilities for a 950-home garden village and nearby areas. Plans for a ‘distinct’ local centre to serve Woodford Garden Village – an emerging residential development five miles south of Stockport – have been lodged by Redrow Homes.
The ‘mixed use’ hub would be built on a two-acre plot off Chester Road, which includes parts of the old Woodford Aerodrome and Bodycote Heat Treatment sites. Designed to pay homage to the aviation history of the site, the curve of the roof moves away from the road in the style of a broken delta wing.
Planning papers say the local centre is an ‘essential element’ of the new garden village – which is around one-third complete – and will offer a range of facilities for its residents and the surrounding area. “The new local centre sits at a key junction on the Chester Road and is an important landmark building,” documents add. “It will provide a new, distinct community building for Woodford Garden Village and the wider community.”
The centre would be split into two ‘wings’. The first would house a convenience store on the ground floor, with ‘flexible commercial space’ above, while the second has further commercial space on the ground floor with six two-bed apartments above it. The flexible ‘uses’ could range from shops, financial services and cafes/restaurants to indoor sports, health facilities and nurseries.
While the Bodycote part of the site is within the green belt, the applicant argues that any harm would be ‘minimal’ and outweighed by the positives the development would bring. The scheme is also described as creating ‘an inviting and comfortable environment that attracts and encourages visitors’.
It includes a 64-space car park – including six disabled bays – with a ‘customer friendly layout’, as well as a footpath with a ‘clear and direct link’ to the garden village. Planning documents claim the new local centre would bring ‘significant benefits’ to the area, with its mix of commercial and residential uses helping ‘to ensure the livelihood and vitality of the local centre’.
“The investment into this development is significant at a time when many communities are losing local facilities,” it adds. “The former Bodycote building did not contribute positively to the street scene and the proposals would bring the site back into beneficial use and introduce a landmark building to Chester Road.”
The commercial units are expected to create 89 full-time jobs and support a further 22 ‘indirect’ positions. Meanwhile the construction phase would provide 67 roles and support 74 jobs.
Summing up the benefits of the scheme, papers add: “The local centre will provide a focus for community activity and has been designed as a place where all people can go to easily access their day to day needs, with areas of public realm and landscaping to encourage people to stay and socialise with one another.”
A decision on whether to grant planning permission will be made by Stockport council.