The housebuilder is to proceed with developing 121 homes at the former King’s School site in central Macclesfield, having secured approval after its proposals were twice deferred.
The Cumberland Street site along with a campus at Fence Avenue have now been vacated by the school, and Hillcrest finally concluded its site acquisition in February, ahead of the plans going before Cheshire East Council’s strategic planning board yesterday.
The firm’s plans for the historic buildings and surrounds at the school’s main site have come under great scrutiny, with two reasons given for the second deferral in December: issues over two of the housing types put forward, and councillors’ request that the cricket pavilion and associated war memorial be retained.
Those issues have now been dealt with by reconfiguring the housing on site, and a plan to bring down and reconstruct the pavilion in a new position, a proposal given the thumbs-up by the War Memorials Trust ahead of yesterday’s meeting.
The project combines new build and the conversion of listed heritage buildings. Under the plans, drawn up by architect Project3, an existing building within the King’s School complex would be converted into 29 one- and two-bedroom apartments, with the addition of a contemporary extension to the rear.
A further 45 apartments for elderly people, and 33 two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom houses are also proposed. The former library will accommodate seven dwellings and the Gate House a single home, with six duplex apartments added to the mix.
Avison Young is the planner for Hillcrest and Exterior Architecture is the landscape architect.
Richard Fee, investment director and chairman at Nikal, Hillcrest’s parent company, said: “The King’s School’s Cumberland Street campus is a cherished landmark within Macclesfield and has been an important part of the town’s landscape and identity for many generations.
“We’ve worked tirelessly over the last three years to develop a residential scheme that honours this relationship and preserves the site’s most treasured buildings and vistas whilst creating a sustainable new development of high-quality homes for individuals and families at all life stages.
“The end result stems from close collaboration with the strategic planning board, local council planning department, War Memorial Trust and local residents. At each stage, we’ve taken on board feedback and refined our plans. We’ve increased the volume of affordable units, increased parking and have found a viable solution that allows us to retain and restore the cricket pavilion war memorial, and ensures its long-term preservation.”
He added: “It is a complex site and development will not be without its challenges but we are excited to have created a vision that meets the approval of the Strategic Planning Board and clears the path for progression.”
Bellway, McCarty & Stone and Barratt/David Wilson Homes are all taking forward separate parcels of the King’s estate, following its move to a £60m complex close to Prestbury.