Cheshire East Council’s cabinet will next week be presented with a report recommending a fresh five-year strategy to revitalise Macclesfield town centre be developed.
The report is authored by the local authority’s executive director of place Frank Jordan and seeks the revocation and replacement of the existing Town Centre Vision document from 2014.
Jordan is of the view that the council needs to flag up to developers and investors that the council is actively seeking partners in a town that offers plentiful opportunity. The report says:
“Realistically, the council cannot deliver the kind of uplift in the town centre that residents, members and officers want to see, working alone. Working collaboratively with other organisations, however, it is possible to effect significant positive change.
“Research suggests that organisations wishing to revitalise town centres are more likely to be effective, if they work with others to a shared vision, a clear agreed strategy, and an action plan with defined responsibilities for delivery.”
Projects currently in the works include the Churchill Way car park site, where Ask is to deliver a six-screen cinema along with restaurants, along with a town centre public realm improvement programme – Jordan’s report asks a further £400,000, already available in the regeneration budget, be added to the £1m already committed. Local Development Orders that will facilitate in-town residential development are also proposed.
Broad areas suggested within the report include the repurposing of under-used buildings, better promotion of heritage assets such as the town’s museums, the old police station and Butter Market. A new branding strategy and review of the town’s events is also suggested.
If cabinet follows the recommendation to approve the consultation draft, stakeholders such as Macclesfield Town Council, the Peaks & Plains housing trust and the Silk Heritage Trust, along with the general public, will be given the opportunity to have their say in a consultation expected to tart before the end of September. The strategy could be finalised by the end of the year.
Cllr Ainsley Arnold, cabinet member for housing and planning, said: “I fully support the principle of setting out our continued commitment to the revitalisation of Macclesfield town centre over the next five years and look forward to seeing the draft strategy document developed into a firm plan.
“Collaboration with a number of both public and private sector partners is key. There are a number of organisations looking to deliver projects, which will breathe new life into the town centre.”