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.”