But now, the town has got itself a fancy title to prove it – and along with that, a £50,000 grant to support arts and creativity in the wider borough.
Up against several other Greater Manchester areas all vying for the crown, Stockport’s bid was centred around the ‘One Stockport’ vision, which Stockport Council says sets out to support the local economy, connect communities, and promote health and wellbeing.
According to the Council, ‘One Stockport’ will be underpinned by four elements that “celebrate arts and creativity in the broadest sense”, as well as the town’s diverse cultural heritage.
These elements are Stockport Makes, Stockport Moves, Stockport Sounds, and Stockport Tastes.
Stockport’s year as Town of Culture also coincides with a number of major public redevelopments and investment in the town.
These include the Town Centre West regeneration, the refurbishment of the legendary Hat Works museum, “cutting-edge” digital arts opportunities to be opened up through the £2.6m Stockport Creative Campus Cultural Fund, and the development of the £14m Future High Street Stockroom discovery centre.
The town’s new title was announced at a presentation yesterday attended by famous faces such as local indie band Blossoms, and Stockport County defender Macauley Southam-Hales, as well as Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, Stockport Council Leader Cllr Mark Hunter, and representatives from across the town’s cultural scene.
“It’s a real pleasure to be able to announce Stockport as our third ever Town of Culture for 2023,” Andy Burnham said at the presentation yesterday.
“The town put forward a strong case for the accolade, backed up by some really exciting plans for events and activities that celebrate Stockport’s identity, its history, but also shine a spotlight on everything that’s happening right now.”
Stockport follows in the footsteps of Stalybridge, which held the title in 2022.
Officers have been carrying out searches of people arriving on site this week – and have already arrested a 24-year-old man.
A quantity of pills and a knife were both recovered from the man, who has been arrested on suspicion of possession of Class A drugs and possession of a bladed article.
After the arrest, Superintendent Phil Spurgeon issued a statement to criminals, saying ‘don’t bother coming to Parklife’.
He said: “We have a really robust police and partnership community safety operation for the festival, and the arrest and seizure yesterday demonstrates the vigilance of security staff, our thorough search procedures and our commitment to keeping people safe.
“Make no mistake, illegal items such as weapons and drugs can have fatal consequences. Our top priority this weekend is keeping people safe, and anyone caught trying to take such items into the festival will be robustly dealt with.
“I hope the genuine festival-goers are excited for the fantastic weekend ahead and I am confident the majority will enjoy the event responsibly and safely.”
Greater Manchester Police and Parklife security staff will be working closely together to intercept anyone travelling to the festival with criminal intentions.
The arrest on 8 June was thanks to the festival’s drug detection dogs.
In a formal statement addressing the situation, the city‘s flagship further education institution says some of its systems have been accessed by an “unauthorised party” and that data has “likely been copied” as a result of this.
The University’s in-house experts are said to be “working around the clock” to resolve the issue.
External support teams are also said to be working in collaboration with the University to understand what data has been accessed.
Patrick Hackett – Registrar, Secretary, and Chief Operating Officer at the University of Manchester – explained in a statement issued this morning: “Regrettably, I have to share with you the news that the University is the victim of a cyber incident, [as] it has been confirmed that some of our systems have been accessed by an unauthorised party and data have likely been copied.
“Our in-house experts and established expert external support are working around the clock to resolve this incident, and we are working to understand what data has been accessed”.
Mr Hackett said he understands the nature of the issue will “cause concern to members of our community”, and says the University is “very sorry for this”.
The University says it is also working with relevant authorities – including the Information Commissioner’s Office, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the National Crime Agency, and other regulatory bodies – to resolve the issue, and will provide information to those affected as soon as they are able to.
Students and staff are also be told to be vigilant to any suspicious phishing emails within the coming days – with the University’s IT Services team having published some relevant advice to refer to.