Cheshire East postpones Silk Street CPO

Cheshire East Council has been given permission by the Secretary of State to postpone an inquiry into the compulsory purchase of land earmarked for the Silk Street scheme in Macclesfield.

The submission of a compulsory purchase order application to government was approved in March 2014, to allow for the £90m rebuild of Macclesfield town centre by Wilson Bowden Developments.

Following the withdrawal of anchor Debenhams from the project earlier this month, the council's legal advisers submitted a letter to the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government requesting an adjournment of the inquiry necessary to approve the CPO powers.

Cheshire East Council also said at the time that it was reviewing its position with Wilson Bowden. This morning the council said that there was no change in its relationship with Wilson Bowden.

The CPO was expected to cover the site bounded by Great King Street and Exchange Street to the north; Churchill Way and Wardle Street to the south; Mill Street, Duke Street and Park Lane to the east; and Churchill Way to the west.

The Secretary of State has accepted that, "due to the exceptional circumstances", it would be appropriate to adjourn the inquiry for up to six months.

Cheshire East is currently looking at ways to speed up the Macclesfield development, including providing £1m for the delivery of a Cineworld and restaurants on the Churchill Way car park and establishing a design board led by Magnus founder Nick Hynes.

Hynes will advise the council and its partners on possible investment models and partnership arrangements to secure investment, funding and delivery for the overall vision for the town.

Caroline Simpson, Cheshire East Council's director of economic growth and development, said: "Given the uncertainty surrounding finding a replacement anchor store for the Silk Street scheme it makes sense to postpone the CPO hearings for a period until there is greater clarity going forward.

"The design board will be key to listening to the views of residents and businesses and making sure that we get the right plan in place.

"I can assure members, residents and businesses that this council remains fully determined to deliver a revitalised, vibrant and sustainable Macclesfield town centre.

"This is an important time for Macclesfield and we are determined to deliver for local residents to give them a town that matches both our and their ambitions and aspirations."

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