by Iain Roberts on 18 November, 2014
Every few years the Council commissions a report into the state of Stockport Town Centre and our district centres. It feeds into the Council’s planning policy – is land being correctly allocated for different purposes around the borough.
There’s lots about Stockport Town Centre in the report – despite its issues it’s still the fourth largest centre in Greater Manchester after Manchester Central, Trafford Centre and Bolton.
The latest report has just come out and it has some interesting research about Cheadle.
Cheadle is the third largest district centre in Stockport on money spent. The only places above it (Hazel Grove and Cheadle Hulme) both have supermarkets in their centres. £44.9 million is spent in Cheadle annually.
Cheadle has 175 retail and service units – more than any other Stockport district centre. That includes 17 vacancies at the time of the survey. Its mix of shops is fairly typical but it has more banks than most. The percentage of empty units in Cheadle peaked in 2004, then fell to 2008. It rose again in the recession, but has been falling since 2011 and never went higher than it was in 2004.
An unusually high proportion of people walk into Cheadle. 48% of trips to the village centre are made by car or van, 10% by bus, 1% on bike and 40% on foot. However, Cheadle is less of an everyday destination than most other centres. For example, 51% of people surveyed in Romiley said they visited at least four times a week, compared to just 30% in Cheadle.
When asked what they most liked about Cheadle, people said it was convenient and near to home, and mentioned the good choice and quality of independent shops. When asked what they didn’t like, 17% mentioned difficulty parking, 15% said too many charity shops and 12% said heavy traffic (of course, more parking spaces would mean more cars and heavier traffic so that might not be an easy one to sort out!)
Asked how Cheadle could best be improved, 17% said more parking, 15% said more independent shops and 10% said more non-food multiple stores.
Asked what was lacking in Cheadle, ‘delicatessen’,’Marks & Spencer’ and ‘bakers’ were the food shops mentioned. For non-food shops, 40% mentioned a general clothes shop was missing, 16% a DIY shop and 12% a shoe shop.
Cheadle generally rated low for accessibility: by bus, cycle, foot and on car parking. It was also rated poorly on access for people with mobility, hearing or sight difficulties.
The survey looked at ‘linked visits’ – combining shopping with other things like eating and drinking. 35% of people almost always did more than one thing when visiting Cheadle – the highest of any district centre.
Overall, Cheadle is rated as a healthy district centre, but the report notes the high number of charity shops and the poor ranking on transport and accessibility.
The report focuses on the larger centres so it doesn’t have a lot to say about Gatley. However, it does tell us that the total annual spend in Gatley shops is £6.3 million (compared to £44.9 million in Cheadle) and that most of that spend (£4.1 million) is “convenience” – i.e. food and the sort of goods you’d buy in a convenience store.14 Comments