It was even better than I imagined and the result of hard work, strong purpose and huge public enthusiasm. We had a nice chat to Nick Johnson, the gaffer, who didn't sugar coat the challenges. You can't click your fingers and make this happen - it takes time. But building anything new starts with a bold and brave first step. My conclusion, with Stockport in mind, the status quo is simply not an option. Change is needed. Excellence is worth shooting for, but you have to do it openly, carefully and respectfully.
It's not a matter of emulating this, but learning from the challenges and making a leap into the 21st century.
Definitely one for continued informed discussion with friends who can make this happen like Stockport MP Ann Coffey and Labour Group leader Alexander Ganotis and my colleague at MMU Professor Cathy Parker, head of the Institute for Place Management.