Debenhams pulls out of Silk Street

Cheshire East Council is reviewing its relationship with Wilson Bowden after the news that anchor Debenhams will no longer take space within the developer's £90m Silk Street scheme in Macclesfield town centre.

The proposed 200,000 sq ft mixed-use scheme by Wilson Bowden Developments received planning permission in June 2013 and was due to be anchored by a Debenhams department store and Cineworld cinema alongside 19 other retail units, a 718-space multi-storey car park and new square. Prezzo and Frankie & Benny's have agreed leases on two of the units.

Construction was due to be complete by 2016.

While Debenhams has pulled out, according to the council Cineworld remains committed to the site.

Cheshire East said it is making £1m additional funding available to deliver the cinema and restaurants on the site of the Churchill Way car park.

Cllr Michael Jones, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: "I remain committed to the redevelopment of Macclesfield and the whole-town vision for key locations such as the Market Place, Mill Street and the Silk Quarter.

"It is clear that the leisure elements of the scheme have always received overwhelming support. I have asked my officers to review our position with Wilson Bowden while we focus on these elements of the Silk Street scheme, which we hope now to deliver sooner than originally envisaged.

"Cheshire East Council is also doubling its own financial commitment to £1m of capital funding and we will be making development finance available, if necessary, to deliver the leisure elements of the scheme

"I want to assure residents and businesses that we see Macclesfield as vital to economic growth and prosperity in Cheshire East."

Will Robinson, retail director at Wilson Bowden Developments, said that his company will continue to work with the council to try and take the scheme forward.

He said: "The decision of Debenhams is no surprise bearing in mind the current retail market.

"We still think there is a scheme to move forward and we will be reviewing things with the local authority who we have a good relationship with.

"They are a pro-active council and we continue to be committed to bringing the scheme for the town centre in light of this decision, there's still a lot of options.

"We are still working with the council on the leisure scheme which is just one option we're reviewing." Joint agents are Cushman & Wakefield and Mason Partners.

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