Cedar Invest has secured planning permission for a £13m, 140,000 sq ft retail park in Cheshire, nearly two years after submitting an application.
The December 2015 application was recommended for approval by two independent retail planning consultants, Martin Tonks and WYG, along with Cheshire East Council’s planning officer.
Harry Spawton, partner at Gerald Eve, who advised Cedar Invest on the application, said: “After Martin Tonks approved the application there was still nervousness from the council, so they got WYG to consult it too, who also approved it.”
Despite the approvals, the application was refused by the committee, who said that work on the former Barracks Mill brownfield site would have a significant adverse impact on the town centre.
Cedar Invest appealed the decision and a five-day inquiry was held in July 2017. The key issue discussed was the effect of the scheme on the vitality and viability of the town centre, and the project was approved on 27 September. It is estimated that Cedar spent around £200,000 on appeal costs.
The scheme will be located on a 6.7-acre former industrial site, next to the junction between Silk Road and Hurdsfield Road, and will include four retail units, a coffee kiosk, and food outlet. The site has remained unused since 2004 after a fire burned through a former town mill on the site, leading to its demolition.
Spawton added: “The inquiry’s decision is a victory for common sense and overturns a planning committee decision that flew in the face of not just the planning officer’s recommendations, but expert advice.
“The former employment land on which the scheme will be located is not only contaminated and in need of significant remediation work, but also suffers from vandalism and anti-social behaviour. This scheme will regenerate the land, and provide a vibrant addition to Macclesfield’s retail offer that makes a significant contribution to the local economy.”
Cedar Invest was also supported by Alyn Nicholls Associates as retail planning consultant and Croft Transport Solutions as highways consultant.
Cheshire East Council has been approached for comment.