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Controversial retail park gets green light

The £13m scheme, which divided opinion in the town, will have four large shops on the former Barracks Mill site in Macclesfield

proposed retail park at Barracks Mill in Macclesfield

Plans for a £13 million retail park on the former Barracks Mill site have been given the green light after a public enquiry.

Applicant Cedar Invest challenged Cheshire East Council planning committee’s decision to refuse the application last autumn.

It means the developer now has permission to build four large shops on the former Barracks Mill site on Black Lane.

Planning inspector Matthew Birkinshaw, who oversaw the planning inquiry in July, said he allowed the appeal but would introduce conditions to protect the ‘vitality and viability of Macclesfield Town Centre’ including limiting the total amount of retail floorspace and restrict the type and amount of goods that could be sold from the site.

The scheme has divided opinion among both shoppers and business leaders in the town.

Objectors Macclesfield Town Council, Macclesfield Civic Society and Eskmuir Securities Limited, which owns the Grosvenor Shopping Centre, all argue it will divert trade from the town centre.

Macclesfield MP David Rutley even warned it could adversely harm the town centre cinema scheme.

But a report published by planning officers said the proposal brings ‘economic benefits through new jobs, investment in the area and by bringing a vacant brownfield site into viable use on one of the key gateways to Macclesfield’.

Planners say the development will remove the eyesore of Barracks Mill.

Ward councillor Steve Carter previously argued the development will bring jobs and get rid of a dangerous building.

The site has been unused since 2004 when fire ravaged the buildings. There were further fires in 2013.

The developer has said previously that the units could be taken up by big name national brands including Range, Dunelm and Sports Direct.

For reaction see next week’s Macclesfield Express.

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