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To: Owners Capital and Centric PLC., and Stockport Council

Don't Hide Our Viaduct: Save Weir Mill

Don't Hide Our Viaduct: Save Weir Mill

Save Stockport's iconic Grade II* listed Railway Viaduct from more concealment by high-rise apartments as part of the Weir Mill redevelopment. The mill can be reused and saved by enabling development. But not at the expense of its concealment and the hiding of our famous viaduct. We want the developers to devise a new scheme without a tower; the council to provide compensatory development land to the west. The old planning application has been withdrawn. We await the new proposals.

Why is this important?

Famous views of the town's largest historic feature, enshrined in Lowry paintings, are being eroded by wilful siting of tall tower blocks along its eastern side, concealing the structure from most of the town centre.

The Council's own self-permitted 19 storey Interchange tower will block views of the viaduct on the south side of the valley, while a previous grouping at Regent House (14 storeys) blocks views to the north. We hope that Capital and Centric will forego adoption of a third apartment tower in their new proposals.

How it will be delivered

Various means of petition submission to Capital and Centric PLC., Stockport Council, Historic England and, if necessary, to central Government and Planning Inspectorate

Wear Mill, Chestergate, Stockport SK3 0AG, UK

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL

Category


Reasons for signing

  • As a Stopfordian I cannot imagine why anyone would allow this to happen to one of the most iconic viaducts and landmarks in the country. It is a massive part of Stockport's heritage and should be seen with pride, not hidden as if in shame.
  • This precious asset forms part of our our identity, used with pride in logos for many local businesses, clubs etc. We should look to protect it - this is not just a viaduct, this skyline IS Stockport to many people. Don't obscure it with a boring, tower block with no architectural virtue - embrace our history, don't bury it.
  • Spend money restoring it

Updates

2020-07-27 22:28:23 +0100

New Owners, Capital and Centric are reaching out to the public, laudably, with a pre-design consultation. See www.weirmill.com for details. Ask questions and give your opinions by emailing [email protected] by 14th August 2020.

C&C's initial concept (no plans yet) seems to be a reduced housing / mixed use project from that proposed by the previous owners, with apartments now limited to 250 rather than the 297 flats that architect Hodder had intended. Hopefully, eliminating the need for any tower that obscures the Mill or the viaduct?

2020-05-21 16:15:39 +0100

Capital and Centric PLC., the new owners of the Weir Mill site, took the bold step yesterday and withdrew the current planning and listed building consent applications that included the offending Hodder tower. New architects have been appointed. A scheme of reduced size is being planned. And a new planning application will be submitted to Stockport Council in due course. We do not know at this stage whether the developer intends to discard the tower concept altogether (best option from our perspective), move it to another location (furthest to the west is one consideration) or retain a tower in the enabling development. Watch this space.

2020-04-22 23:49:34 +0100

Members of the Stockport Heritage Trust were graciously consulted today by the development team behind another (unrelated) planning scheme - Royal George Village, behind the War Memorial / Art Gallery on the former College site. The team's use of laser scan surveys to map impacts of new buildings in the area, as part of their validated Tall Buildings Assessment report was exemplary. Contrast this with the Stockport Interchange and Weir Mill tower schemes, where the architects went out of their way to obscure tall building implications. Not a level playing field for planning submissions and decision-making, as we'll make plain to the Planning Inspectorate.

2020-04-18 16:32:23 +0100

Revised image to show iconic view being lost if the Hodder Tower is built in the current proposals. Photo by Eric de Mare (1910-2002) taken in 1954. Image in public domain at Historic England archives.

2020-04-07 09:57:02 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2020-04-05 18:46:22 +0100

Since Stockport Council have yet to determine the planning case, and appear instead to be in negotiations with the developers and Greater Manchester Mayor's development commission over the amount of public subsidy for the scheme, petitioners might like to object directly to the tower in the project via the Council's planning portal at: https://planning.stockport.gov.uk/PlanningData-live/simpleSearchResults.do?action=firstPage

2020-04-04 22:30:05 +0100

Revised image attached at head of this website illustrates the height of the proposed tower next to the Grade II* listed Viaduct. Apartment owners with flats facing the viaduct piers would have zero views. Those in the tallest part of the tower, facing west would have millions of rail commuters looking into their homes instead of enjoying Stockport's townscape.

2020-03-29 22:00:46 +0100

Ex-pat Stockport folks seem to be prevented from signing the petition by 38-Degrees operating system. For those wishing to sign, but prevented from doing so, please send your name, country and post code to me at [email protected]

2020-03-27 16:31:59 +0000

According to the Planning Statement issued by the developers' planning consultants in March 2019 (p15 para 5.16), the offending tower was originally planned for the west side of the viaduct but then, after consultation with Stockport council, was to be moved to the east side and raised in height. But by October 2019, and the submission of the revised planning application, the tower design was back on the east side, facing the town centre, hiding the Mill and Viaduct, and raised in height to 14 storeys. So who influenced this decision? Was it to align with the Council's own Town Centre West plans, already published with an illustration of the planned tower on the east side? Did the Council change its mind and suggest this to bolster arguments for the erection of its own tall Interchange tower further south? The council does not seem to have an urban design strategy for the Mersey Gorge and valley at the heart of the town centre.

2020-03-27 16:19:40 +0000

As of today, we have 886 signatures on the petition. In contrast, the original developers' "consultation" process made a leaflet drop to 100 nearby premises, and held a "public exhibition" for 5 hours at Stockport's Masonic Guildhall. So much for engagement with interested parties at an early stage (Planning Policy Guidance).

2020-03-24 21:07:04 +0000

Please add your post codes to your signatures to held validate the petition and provide us with data on the geographic spread of our support.

2020-03-22 19:45:21 +0000

New image from developer's planning application reveals how the tower will hide the Grade II listed mill and partially hide the Grade II* Viaduct. What the image does not show is the council's own Interchange Tower, planned for far right of view that will also hide the viaduct.

2020-03-13 15:51:54 +0000

Stockport Council issued artists' renderings yesterday of the new bridge for the pedestrian / cycle route from the rail station to the new Stockport Interchange bus station. The renderings studiously avoided views of the looming 19 storey tower at the interchange. The view north alluded to long views across the Grade II* viaduct. But those views will be blocked if the current Weir Mill tower proposal is built, as it blocks central views.

2020-03-02 17:00:46 +0000

Bad news today from Stockport Council that the new owners of Weir Mill, Capital and Centric, are continuing with the former owners' planning application including the Hodder design for a tower concealing the mill and viaduct from the town centre. Stockport Heritage Trust has contacted other objectors to continue the fight to a public inquiry. Please raise more signatories for the petition. Lets reach 1,000 in the next few weeks?

2020-01-25 20:56:48 +0000

The Trust reached out to Capital & Centric and received a cordial response stating that its plans were at an early stage. We understand that C&C met with senior officers and councillors in Oct 2019 to take soundings. But no further announcements have been made and the current planning application appears to be in abeyance. Meanwhile, at a strategic level, the results of the Council's consultation on its Town Centre West regeneration framework was reported to SMBC and is on the council's website at the following URL: http://democracy.stockport.gov.uk/documents/g26524/Public%20reports%20pack%2012th-Nov-2019%2018.00%20Cabinet.pdf?T=10. The public want heritage preserved and reused; not damaged or hidden from view; new buildings and their siting should pay homage to the viaducts.

2020-01-22 11:57:11 +0000

500 signatures reached

2020-01-16 01:41:40 +0000

News from the North West today: Maryland Securities, the developers of the Grade II Weir Mill proposals that include the tower obscuring both the mill and the Grade II* viaduct, have unexpectedly sold the site to Manchester developers, Capital and Centric Ltd., in an undisclosed deal. Is this an opportunity to lobby the new owners for a revised scheme that removes the offending tower and seeks additional enabling land to the west on King Street West and incorporates locally listed Mentor House? More signatures are needed!

2020-01-12 19:06:06 +0000

Behind Weir Mill on King Street West, adjacent to the bridge, is a locally listed 1912c Edwardian Baroque brick and sandstone building called Mentor House. It was formerly the offices and workshops for the Chestergate Hat Manufacturing Co Ltd., and is one of the few remaining structures of Stockport's famous felt hat making hey day. The Council and Stockport Heritage Trust are fighting to keep this too.

2020-01-10 21:36:38 +0000

Our petition and formal objections joined other objectors e.g., the Victorian Society and Historic England, and caused Stockport Council to seek additional clarifications from the developer.

The developer's response was to dismiss our objections as raising no substantial harm and countering by proposing an increase to the height and mass of the offending tower, to which we all objected again, and pointed out the unacceptable cumulative effect of existing and proposed tall towers along the iconic viaduct viewshed.

Of great concern is that the Council is promoting the tower scheme as part of its Town Centre West strategy while supposedly assessing the scheme in planning terms.

Bearing in mind that the national status of the Victorian Society and Historic England , the application is likely to be called in by government for a public inquiry.

So the fight goes on.

2019-11-14 20:53:42 +0000

The Stockport Heritage Trust lodged its objections to the proposals with Stockport Council last night and included the 326 signature petition of concerned citizens. We concur with the objections lodged by Historic England and by the Victorian Society and will continue lobbying for a more appropriate project that respects Weir Mill and sacred views of the Viaduct

2019-11-09 19:16:15 +0000

The "public consultation" held by the developers of the Weir Mill scheme only consulted immediately local neighbors (not many) and held a 1-day exhibition - hardly up to national standards of fair play. Stockport Heritage Trust (that knows a thing or two about Weir Mill and the Viaduct) was NOT consulted.

2019-11-09 19:12:09 +0000

The Weir Mill Tower proposal was designed by Stephen Hodder, Past President RIBA (a Stockport lad) who is infamous for the design of Ryan Giggs' monster tower proposed to overlook Albert Square in Manchester.

2019-11-09 19:09:09 +0000

How fair can SMBC be in determining this planning application? Its advisors for the Town Centre West development zone (within which Weir Mill sits), Cushman & Wakefield, produced a fancy brochure to promote inward investment in the zone that features the Weir Mill / Viaduct concealing tower.

2019-11-05 21:42:42 +0000

Fighting in the dark: Stockport Council decided not to publish online other objections to the proposals. But the Trust obtained key responses from the Victorian Society among others, and was heartened to learn that it strongly objected to the scheme, on similar grounds to those expressed here.

2019-11-04 14:25:50 +0000

100 signatures reached

2019-11-04 10:44:15 +0000

50 signatures reached

2019-11-04 09:05:02 +0000

25 signatures reached

2019-11-04 06:56:15 +0000

10 signatures reached