Contact Us

Has The High Street Found A New Role As a Learning Centre?

Learning on the high street: The new Stockport plan

Could libraries and learning be the future of the high street?

As the coronavirus pandemic thins the ranks of high street retailers and leisure operators, one Greater Manchester council thinks it has come up with a replacement.

Stockport Council plans to repurpose as a community learning hub the defunct Marks & Spencer and BHS department stores, part of a 135K SF rethink of part of Merseyway Shopping Centre.

The £22.5M initiative follows developer Glenbrook’s announcement that it would convert the 64K SF balance of the Marks & Spencer store into large floorplate offices.

The council, which was in talks to acquire the BHS store as long ago as March 2019, has applied for £14.5M from the government’s Future High Street Fund to help fund the transformation. If the bid is successful the hub, called StockRoom, will sit at the heart of the town centre.

The StockRoom sounds rather like a library. “It will celebrates the culture and creativity of the town, providing a space that encourages people to tell their story, where residents can spend leisure time, learn and celebrate their heritage,” a council statement said.

Stockport council bought the 345K SF Merseyway shopping centre out of administration in 2016. Glenbrook acquired the Marks & Spencer unit from Stockport council in 2018.