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Plan to rejuvenate Macclesfield town centre is brought forward

Doing nothing is not an option. That’s the message from town leaders as revised plans for the redevelopment of the town centre are brought forward.

Doing nothing is not an option.

That’s the message from town leaders as revised plans for the redevelopment of the town centre are brought forward.

The Wilson Bowden plan to rejuvenate the centre of the town has been on the table for nearly a decade.

However, the council are warning it is vital. The scheme gets under way soon in a bid to halt Macclesfield’s slump down the town centre league table.

The council claims that just six per cent of the income of Macclesfield residents is spent in the town – and it predicts a £40m loss in retail sales by 2016 if the scheme doesn’t go ahead.

A planning application for the estimated £100m plan, which includes 19 new high street shops, a new town square, department store and a cinema, was first lodged in April.

Since then comments and responses have flooded in to the council as part of the public consultation.

A pressure group, called Wake Up Macc, has formed to try and rally opposition against the proposed scheme. They claim the town needs more independent shops rather than national brands.

But the council says the town has more independent shops than the national average and 28pc less quality retail space.

And it revealed that 60pc of the retail space in the scheme has already been snapped up, or is under offer. Along with Wilson Bowden, it has taken on board concerns raised by the forum and other  groups and has made several key changes as a result.

The height of buildings has been reduced and the design of  the cinema, the multi-storey car park and the Silk Street shops have been altered in a bid to make them more istinctive in a bid to tackle the accusation they could turn Macclesfield into a ‘clone town’.

The authority pitched their new plans to a specially-arranged meeting of the Make It Macclesfield forum at Macclesfield town hall last Friday morning.

After the meeting coun Jamie Macrae, cabinet member for prosperity, said: “The Silk Street scheme presents a tremendous opportunity to unlock the potential of Macclesfield – not just to revitalise the town centre but also to act as a catalyst for the wider regeneration of the town.

“We must not miss this opportunity.

“The people of Macclesfield want their town to be a unique, distinctive and appealing destination that showcases and celebrates its rich heritage, and so does the council and its partners.

“If we act together we can make Macclesfield the best it can be – a town where people want to come to live, work and visit and where businesses can thrive and prosper.”

The chairman of the Make It Macclesfield Forum also said that the town should embrace investment.

However, Clare Hayward stressed that she was speaking personally and that the forum is a diverse group with a wide range of views.

She told the Express: “I think it’s important that as a town, we stop the downward trend.

“And we need significant investment to do that. The forum have been giving Wilson Bowden a lot of feedback.

“I think Wilson Bowden have listened, as was demonstrated at the meeting. There’s an old saying – building’s aren’t good because their old, they’re old because they’re good.

“And this is about building our town for future.”

Brita Hirsch from the Wake Up Macc group said: “The overall concept clearly hasn’t changed but we are encouraged the council is listening to people’s concerns about appearance.”

What do you think about the plans? Submit your comments below or email macclesfieldexpress@menmedia.co.uk .

 

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