Follows recent handover of Stockport's new bus interchange and wider trend for council-invested community hubs

Willmott Dixon’s team of leisure experts are helping Stockport Council to develop a state-of-the-art Community Hub in Marple, supported by a £20 million grant from the Levelling Up Fund.

Stockport Council has submitted a planning application for a new Community Hub in Marple, procured through Procure Partnerships Framework. The project will deliver a two-storey community hub located in Marple Memorial Park with a five-lane swimming pool, a ground floor library with a small cafe, a 60-station fitness suite, shared community spaces, and the relocated Marple clinic.

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The formal planning submission follows an extensive consultation process to finalise the designs, which will see the Marple’s existing police station, library and a health clinic demolished to make way for the new Community Hub with all of those uses retained on the site. The Library and Clinic will be relocated into the new complex with the Police relocated into Hollins House. The hub project will also replace the village’s previous swimming pool which closed in 2018.

Pending planning permission, the project will be completed by the end of 2025 and comes hot on the heels of the official opening of Stockport’s transformational town-centre Viaduct Park and Interchange, delivered by Willmott Dixon for Transport for Greater Manchester. Earlier this month Stockport was also officially named the Best Place to Live in the North West of England by the Sunday Times.

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What people are saying

Cllr Colin MacAlister, Stockport Council cabinet member for economy, regeneration and housing:

“We have listened to what the people of Marple have said and this fantastic new facility reflects what local people have wanted in their area for a long time. I am delighted that we continue to move this forward. If planning is granted, this hub is going to make a huge, positive impact on the prosperity, health and wellbeing of the residents of Marple and the borough.
“I was very impressed with how Willmott Dixon operated its Building Lives Academy during the construction of the town’s new Interchange and Viaduct Park, so I am looking forward to more of the borough’s youngsters having the opportunity to be involved in the construction of the Hub if the plans are approved.”

Anthony Dillon, managing director for Willmott Dixon in the North:

“We’re proud to be working in partnership with Stockport Council once again, and to be playing our part in creating a vibrant and innovative community hub for the people of Marple. In delivering Stockport Interchange and Viaduct Park, we worked alongside incredible local organisations such as Pure College, the Webb Lane Community Allotments, The Wellspring and The Samaritans and we look forward to continuing to support more amazing local causes.
“At Marple Community and Leisure Hub we are committed to delivering a social return on investment of £3.78m including 132 weeks of apprenticeship training and 40 weeks of work placements. We look forward to also running two bespoke ‘Building Lives Academy’ skills programmes for students with special educational needs and for care leavers.”

Natalie Palframan, Key Account Manager at Procure Partnerships Framework added:

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Stockport Council and our contractor partners to deliver a community-focussed project that leaves a legacy. Should planning permission be granted, this new facility, coupled with the project’s focus on social value, is set to make a lasting impact on the residents of Marple as well as the wider borough.”

Willmott Dixon has nearly 90 years’ experience in the wet leisure sector. In the last 10 years, the business has built over 160 leisure facilities for private, public and educational sector customers.

A decision on the development is expected in June 2024.