Macclesfield Town Centre
Ask's proposals for a cinema-led development were shelved last year

Macclesfield town centre vision heads to consultation

Charlie Schouten

Cheshire East Council is inviting public views on its “route map” for growth in Macclesfield, including identifying development opportunities, improved infrastructure, and public realm.

The council picked a team of Cushman & Wakefield, WSP, and Open to draw up the vision last year, supported by the Institute of Place Management at MMU. Cheshire East said the fresh plan for the town would focus on “major opportunities for regeneration” in the town centre and will recommend a series of “priority next steps” to bring forward a masterplan for the area.

The council has already identified a series of sites for residential development and will look to put special planning measures in place to allow these to come forward. These are divided into two areas: Northside and Whalley Hayes, with all the sites in differing ownership. Some are being proposed as conversions, while others are currently derelict or undeveloped.

Cheshire East identified the need for a five-year regeneration strategy for Macclesfield in 2017 with a report prepared by executive director of place Frank Jordan.

This report suggested expanding and improving public realm, re-purposing under-used buildings, and better promotion of the town’s heritage assets.

Some development plans have come forward in Macclesfield, including by Nick Johnson to create an Altrincham-style market in the town’s Picturedrome; plans were also approved last year for a Lidl superstore. However, last summer, developer Ask pulled out of plans to build a cinema and leisure-led project on Churchill Way, citing “ongoing challenges with the food and beverage sector”.

The council said it “recognised a mismatch between the current town centre offer and the aspirations of local people” and added the framework would “build on the town’s existing leisure and cultural sectors”. Cheshire East also added the regeneration framework would “provide the development sector with the confidence and certainty needed to bring forward investment, jobs and economic growth”.

The plans will now be showcased to the public with a consultation to be held on February 16 at the Grosvenor Centre, running from 10am to 3pm.

Public consultation will also remain open until 5pm on 13 March.

Cllr Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration said: “The aim of this strategic regeneration framework is to set out a fresh vision for the town centre, focused on its key role in underpinning and driving an exciting and prosperous future for the whole town.

“We won’t, however, lose sight of the area’s important heritage, sense of place and its individual character, which are held in high regard by local people and visitors alike.

“We recognise only too well that town centres and high streets are facing unprecedented challenges as a result of changing consumer behaviour. Macclesfield has many unique advantages – but it is not immune to the difficulties faced by all town centres in the UK.

“The council is responding to this with a clear vision and strategy, so we can direct our efforts and resources where they will be most effective and have the greatest impact.

“Having developed a strategic regeneration framework with an experienced and knowledgeable team, I look forward to seeing and hearing the views and ideas of the public. This will enable us to be clear about where our priorities should lie in doing what is within our power to revitalise Macclesfield town centre.

“The council has already been investing significantly in enhancing the public realm across Macclesfield and we will continue to engage with our partners, stakeholders and local MP to support the vitality of Macclesfield as a great place to live, work and visit.”

Your Comments

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I quite like Macc. I think it has a lot of potential.

By Raj

We moved to Macc 13 years ago and at that time there was talk of a cinema and all this regeneration. In the time since, absolutely nothing has happened and now we have yet another consultation. Glad we took the decision to move.

By Bored

total decline in maccelsfield place has gone down hill since the days of maccelsfield council uñ cared for shops closing rough sleepers in door was roads a disgrace car park lights turned off not the maccelsfield I once remembered

By d j priest

Hands off the car parks
The biggest disincentive to go into the town centre is the lack of parking. It is aggravating to have to pay for parking for a few minutes in a shop

By Les

Sadly, the ‘no development’ types in Macclesfield have thwarted every attempt to do something with their Town Centre – action that has resulted in the current state of it. Hopefully, even they can get behind this.

By Depressed Latic

Moved to Macclesfield 9 years ago ,nothing is improved .Decided to move soon.So disappointed

By Me

Kendal = Historic market town on the boarder of one of our finest National Parks. Macclesfield = Historic Market town on the boarder of one of our finest National Parks. Kendal has an amazing vibe, independent F & B, a great little cinema and a well balanced range of quality retailers. So why not Macc? Our great town has the potential to become a truly fantastic destination for visitor and locals alike. The outdoor adventure economy is the key. Work with the local landscape and all it has to offer and lets pull in some tourist capital which will revive and drive the local economy.

By Glass half full of Red Willow's Finest

Dear Les: You are dead right. I have shopped in certain towns (like Stockport, and said to my wife, stop shopping luv (because I still luve my wife), our parking ticket is ending. Wé have to go home now. So you see. Charging for car parking, whether communal or private car parks, is a tax on shopping in towns. Only Les and I understand this. Put us in charge. We’ll sort it out.

By James Yates

Here we go again wasting more money talking about redeveloping the town and then getting nowhere. The town needs actions not more consultations. It needs people who know how to create solutions with a vision to develop the town positively. In the past the focus is alway more on ostacles and bureaucracy and reasons why to not allow it or block it then nothing gets done. All the money that has been wasted over the years talking about how to redevelop the town. Just walk around and look at what we have to show for it. It’s time we stopped talking and started acting.

By Anonymous

Come on everyone, let’s get behind this and have the town centre Macc deserves.

By Mike

Thank goodness for people like Nick Johnson with a vision, that is up and running in no time and we wish him every success. It’s time to get rid of Ainsley Arnold, and his Tory Councillors, they have done nothing for Macclesfield apart from the wholesale destruction of the Greenbelt, ensuring builders maximise their profits, whilst the town centre is left with dozens of derelict brown field sites. Wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds on chasing companies that are one step from going out of business, and endless consultations, which are great for the consultants who are making plenty of money from this process…

By No faith in CEC Councillors

CEC are making 74% profit on the parking in Macclesfield ensuring people don’t stay long in the town centre.

By No Parking

Think Macc will do well. I’ve already noticed a difference in higher footfall in last year and its shoppers are fiercely loyal and have the “spend” required to sustain it.

By Another interested observer

As per usual all talk No action, I’ve lived in Macclesfield my whole life and it’s always the same. plans drawn up then shelved . The town is now a broken down dump, it will never be the busy market town it used to be , such a shame ,and shame on the greedy people who are letting this town rot.

By anonymous

I know, let’s have another edge of town retail park, that’ll help our town centre.

By Ron Massie