Cheshire East Council has granted itself new planning powers in order to ease the development of commercial and residential schemes on select brownfield sites in Macclesfield.
The local development order is a tool which allows the council to bring in permitted development rights, meaning that if a proposal fulfils what Cheshire East described as “closely-defined” criteria, it can be built without a planning application. Permitted development rights have gained prominence nationally over the past decade after being put in place to encourage office-to-residential conversions.
The order was agreed at a meeting of the cabinet and covers the areas known as North Side and Whalley Hayes, in a push to deliver additional housing close to the town centre and re-use brownfield land. The powers are in place from today, and will remain active for the next five years.
All the sites are in different ownership and some are proposed as conversions, while others are currently derelict or undeveloped.
The Northside area is split into four plots; the former Magistrates’ Court; an adjacent plot on Beech Lane; an undeveloped site on the corner of Beech Lane and Hibel Road; and a building and surface car park at the end of Pearle Street.
Whalley Hayes has five sites, largely focussed around King Edward Street, Westminster Street, Little Street, and King Edward Road.
The strategic regeneration of the town centre moved forward late last year with Cushman & Wakefield, Open, and WSP appointed to draw up plans for Macclesfield’s core. Previously proposed developments, including one spearheaded by Ask, have failed to come forward.
The implementation of the local development order forms part of the council’s plan to woo developers into the town, with the reassurance that residential-led and commercial schemes in the right areas will fly through the planning system.
Cllr Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, said: “This local development order represents an innovative and pro-active use of the council’s planning powers.
“These areas of Macclesfield have been underdeveloped and under-used for many years and this decision means we can bring the area back into use. The use of brownfield sites supports our overall strategy of regenerating Macclesfield by promoting new homes on under-utilised land.”