STALYBRIDGE councillors can finally breathe a sigh of relief after plans to redevelop the town’s ‘biggest eyesore’ were given the go ahead.
For years, the former police station on Corporation Street has laid empty and is almost a blight on the landscape.
Now after a plan to convert it into flats, adding two more floors on top of the existing structure was unanimously approved, one word can sum up the feelings of its representatives – finally.
Stalybridge South Conservative councillor Doreen Dickinson said: “This is the biggest eyesore of Stalybridge.
“What a blessing it will be to get something done with it.”
Stalybridge North Labour counterpart Sam Gosling added: “This site has just been one of neglect.
“It’s just been an eyesore of Stalybridge and I welcome this development.”
The latest application was a variation if conditions on a previously approved plan surrounding the police station, to add a third floor.
However, speaking to the meeting of Tameside Council’s Speakers Panel, officer David Thompson revealed the original third floor plan had to be redrawn to get approval.
He said: “The extent of the accommodation at third floor level at the southern end of the building, the Corporation Street elevation, has been scaled back following concerns by officers that the impact on the character of the conservation area and the setting of the listed buildings to the south-west and west of the site.
“Stalybridge Civic Hall is immediately west and there’s a Grade-II listed church to the south-west.
“There are also long views from Cocker Hill, so there’s a lot of sensitivity in terms of the additional height that was proposed at the third floor level and what views you get.
“The purpose of reducing the accommodation was to make sure those views were properly preserved.”
Stalybridge police station has laid empty since 2005 and one plan to turn it into 18 apartments in 2014 by developer IDG Properties was believed to have fallen by the wayside.
It has been left for so long, it even became the subject of an ‘exploring’ video which showed the cells still in place.
Now it is hoped giving the plan by owner John Kerrison the go ahead can help efforts to regenerate Stalybridge town centre.