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Why Stockport, Greater Manchester, is one of the best places to live 2023

Wednesday March 29, 2023

An abundance of property and parks makes this a popular pick for young professionals moving on from Manchester’s centre.

Stockport has engineered a remarkable reinvention in recent years, turning itself from a standard former mill town into a funky, family-friendly alternative to Manchester’s Northern Quarter, a ten-minute train ride away. This is where the avocado-brunching millennials move when they have a Lejoux pushchair and are faced with the school run, but still want to live a fashionable life.

Stockport has always had its bones and character,” says Sophia Barrese, 33, who has more than 200,000 followers on Instagram (@sophia_rosemary). She was born in the town, owns a business here — the vintage clothing store Top of the Town — and her fiancé is Joe Donovan, the drummer in the Stockport band Blossoms, who has been nominated for a Brit award and the Mercury prize. The couple is renovating an early 20th-century house in Davenport, just outside the town centre. “It’s been quite frustrating because we’ve been in the shadow of Manchester,” she says. “Stockport has sold itself short in the past, but that’s changing now.

This new direction for a town hitherto famous mostly for its hat museum, lower-league football team and a railway viaduct that’s the largest brick-built structure in western Europe, is being underpinned by a £1 billion regeneration programme.

The area will have a new transport interchange, once and business space (which has attracted big employers such as MusicMagpie and Stagecoach) and more apartments — natch — with the conversion of grade II listed former cotton works Wear Mill (also known as Weir Mill) into 250 homes.

Mostly, though, Stockport’s appeal, whatever your background or budget, lies in its abundance of property, parks (240-acre Etherow Country Park has sailing, boating and angling), nurseries and decent schools. And its reputation for independent businesses, shops, bars, cafés and creative enterprises run by young (and young-at-heart) entrepreneurs is surpassed by no other town in Greater Manchester. Hats off to them!

What are the best shops and restaurants in Stockport?

Daily needs are catered for in the Merseyway Shopping Centre, which has Boots, a Holland & Barrett, phone shops, banks and Waterstones. However, it’s the independent retailers that have put the town on the modern map, including those selling food and drink in the Produce Hall. Stockport Market, which is based in grade II listed Victorian glass and iron hall, has more than 30 traders, including fresh seafood merchants Big Fish, and Little Fish. While meandering through the town, re-energise with a slice of rainbow cake and kombucha at vegan café Hillgate Cakery, then browse indie shops such as Rare Mags (the clue is in the name), Yellowhammer (a bakery and pottery studio) and Still Life Story homewares.

There are four cinemas, the Light, the Regent, the Savoy (across the borough) and the art deco Plaza, which presents touring shows, music events and vintage film afternoons. And the town now has so many appealing drinking spots that there’s a recognised “indie bar” route — cocktails at Cherry Jam, where you can admire local street artists’ work on the walls, are a highlight.

Where can I travel to?

Trains to and from Manchester Piccadilly take from eight minutes, so it’s a pretty speedy commute. The 192 bus, passing through Longsight and Levenshulme, takes 31 minutes to reach Piccadilly. There are long-standing plans — still to be confirmed — to extend the Metrolink tram from Manchester to Stockport, improving connectivity at stops along the way. The M60, Manchester’s ring road, skirts Stockport, leading on towards the M62 and M6 and allowing (on a good day) a 15-minute drive to Manchester airport.

How fast is the broadband?

Almost half of Stockport is covered by Brsk’s gigabit full fibre service. Virgin Media is widely available too.

What are the best schools in Stockport?

Pownall Green Primary School (inspected in 2008) and Ladybrook Primary (2020), both in Bramhall, plus St Peter’s Catholic (2013) in Hazel Grove and Vernon Park (2014) in the town centre are all rated outstanding by Ofsted. Stockport Market is based in grade II listed Victorian glass and iron hall and has more than 30 traders

Cheadle Hulme High School is ranked the best comprehensive school in the northwest in the Sunday Times Parent Power guide.

Independents include co-ed Stockport Grammar School (£4,405 per term), which came seventh in Parent Power’s top ten independent schools in the northwest.

Where is the best area to live?

In Bramhall, there are £1 million-plus detached houses. Then there’s the Heatons (Chapel, Mersey and Moor), especially Heaton Moor, where the biggest and best homes on Heaton Moor Road and surrounding streets, such as Stanley Road, cost in the region of £750,000.

What are the house prices in Stockport?

Average property price: £335,800

Source: Halifax using Land Registry data

Rise Homes are delighted to be working on the regeneration of the Stockport Interchange, where we are building a 14-storey purposely designed building that includes 70 one-bed and 126 two-bed fully furnished, spacious apartments in the heart of the town.

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