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Let battle begin over town plans

Residents will have the chance to have their say on  the redevelopment of the town centre after new plans were officially brought forward.

Residents will have the chance to have their say on  the redevelopment of the town centre after new plans were officially brought forward.

Wilson Bowden first applied for planning permission for the £90m ‘Silk Street’ scheme in March last year.

However, after being inundated with comments, a raft of changes has been made to the designs by the developers and Cheshire East council.

These were exclusively revealed by the Express before Christmas and published in an eight-page guide.

But people will now have the chance to have their say after a six-week consultation period began on Friday.

The scheme includes plans for a Debenhams department store, 19 new high street shops, an eight-screen cinema complex, restaurants and a new town square.

The scheme would mostly be built on current surface car parks which would be replaced by a new 718-space multi-storey car park near Park Green. As a result of feedback received from the first application, the height of the cinema and the Debenhams store has been reduced.

The cinema also now features a flexible material shaped into wavy lines to represent silk threads while the car park is to be encased by greenery known as ‘living green screens’.

The plans have already divided opinion  with a pressure group, called Wake Up Macc, being formed to oppose them.

They say it will turn Macclesfield into a ‘clone town’ and that existing empty shops should be used instead.

But both Wilson Bowden and CEC say the scheme is vital to attract investment and halt Macclesfield’s slide down the centre  league table.

The Express is not taking a stance on the proposal, but is simply giving readers all the information available to make a decision on whether it should go ahead.

Patrick Arthurs, planning director at Wilson Bowden Developments, said: “We have continued to work closely with partners, stakeholders and members of the public and have made every effort to reflect their comments in our revised planning application.

“Macclesfield needs to take this opportunity to boost its town centre offering, as part of the wider redevelopment of the area.

“We know established retailers have an appetite to invest in the town but this won’t happen unless we create high quality spaces and demonstrate the town’s credentials.

“It’s time to raise the bar and ensure Macclesfield fulfils its potential as a destination town.”

Coun Jamie Macrae, Cheshire East council cabinet member in charge of prosperity and economic regeneration, said: “This is a tremendous opportunity for the regeneration and revitalisation of Macclesfield. I welcome the changes made to the original plans, following discussions with our officers, to ensure the scheme is more in keeping and sympathetic towards the rich history and heritage of the town.

“I hope the people of Macclesfield will embrace this exciting keystone to unlocking the town’s potential and future prosperity and give it their support during the consultation period.”
The consultation period began on Friday, January 11 and will run until  Friday, February 22.

But Beverley Moore, spokesperson for Wake Up Macc, said: “A Cheshire East council planning officer will be available by appointment each day at Macclesfield Town Hall to answer queries on the application between 12.30pm and 1.30pm.”

To book an appointment please call 0300 123 5014.

To view the plans and leave comments, visit maccregen.cheshireeast.gov.uk.

The plans can also be viewed at any council office using internet facilities available for the public.

Wake Up Macc is holding an open meeting to discuss the scheme in St Michael’s Church on Friday, January 25, starting at 7pm. Retail guru Bill Grimsey and the town’s MP David Rutley will be speaking.

Anyone is welcome to attend though people are asked to confirm their attendance by e-mailing wakeupmacc@gmail.com .

If you missed our eight-page guide to the plans, published on Wednesday, November 28, and would like a copy, please call 0808 144 8808.
 

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