A masterplan to transform the southern gateway to the town with 950 homes, a primary school, supermarket and link road looks set to get the green light.
The scheme targets 63 hectares of land between Congleton Road and London Road known as South Macclesfield Development Area (SMDA) – which has suffered from numerous false starts over the last two decades. The developers – Engine of the North, Cheshire East Council’s development company, and TG, a Jersey-based firm – will hope that a strategic planning committee today (Wednesday, August 30), follow officers’ advice and approve the scheme ‘on balance’. This is despite being unable to offer the normal levels of affordable housing, public open space, or expected contributions for highways, ecological mitigation and education. In its report planners said the developers justified the move on the ‘abnormal costs’ of building the £19.5m link road from Congleton Road to London Road and the £11m needed to prepare the site to be built on.
In order to push the scheme through officers said they are willing to accept that only 10 per cent of the 950 homes will be affordable housing, and that just £3.8m from the developers will go towards improving playing fields and play areas, local highways junctions, and education. The latter is expected to be a major issue for the committee considering the council’s own education department called for at least £5.5m towards education based on the estimated 333 school-age children expected to live in the development.
Coun Laura Jeuda, who represents Macclesfield South on Cheshire East Council, does not support the plans and said she was staggered by the level of compromise.
She said: “The council is riding roughshod over its own policies and seems to be saying ‘anything is better than nothing’.
“This has been going on for years and it has the feel of a desperate last ditch attempt to do something on that site. It’s an absolute mishmash.”
A spokesperson for Engine of the North said: “Our ambition for the South Macclesfield site is to create a sustainable community within a quality environment, ensuring that the development complements and benefits the existing and surrounding communities.”
The plan includes a new 4,000sqm retail development and space for warehousing and offices.