“We have a plan!”

Cheshire East Council is seeking to bring forward a series of key objectives for the town centre, first focussing on developing detailed public realm designs, and prioritising investment in Chestergate and Macclesfield’s historic centre.

The Council’s masterplan focusses around repurposing existing space in the town centre, as well as developing brownfield sites for a mix of uses, including residential.

Development opportunities, described by the council as “transformative”, are also likely to come forward around the town’s railway station in the near-term; here, there are ambitions to develop leisure, business, and residential schemes.

There is also the potential to provide a plaza at Waters Green and to reinstate public green space around the station.

Around Chestergate at the town’s historic core, the vision is to refurbish and repurpose existing buildings, primarily for housing; neighbouring plots around Jordangate are also targeted for redevelopment, with the masterplan outlining “aspirations for the modernisation” of the existing Jordangate car park.

Meanwhile, the retail core is to see some repurposing and re-use of vacant space for food and drink offerings, with residential on the periphery.

Churchill Way is seen to be a key route through the town and has been earmarked for a “greener boulevard”; the report said this would “enhance first impressions of the town, improve legibility and wayfinding, and reduce car dominance, resulting in pedestrian prioritisation at key junctions”. Infill residential schemes are also among the options here, while consolidation and improvement of car parking is seen as a priority.

Sunderland Street and the Silk Quarter to the south are targeted as mixed-use areas with an ambition to deliver retail, residential, employment, leisure, and night-time economy uses.

Cheshire East is set to lead on the SRF with roles potentially including land assembly, site preparation, bidding for funding, and engagement with stakeholders.

The SRF also mentions working with existing developers in the town – with Hillcrest, Peaks & Plains, and Huntsmere Construction all namechecked – while a number of national and regional developers are also said to have identified an interest in developing in the town centre.

Public consultation was carried out on the framework over the past year, with most respondents agreeing that improving green space and public realm should be Macclesfield’s priority.

The SRF was prepared by a team of Cushman & Wakefield, WSP, and Open to draw up the vision last year, supported by the Institute of Place Management at MMU.

Cllr Nick Mannion, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for environment and regeneration, said: “This strategic regeneration framework has been developed to give a clear direction for all those who want to help revitalise the town centre. It has been refined to take account of views raised via public consultation and I would like to thank everyone for their comments and for taking part in this valuable process.”

“Unless there is a clear vision, collaborative approach and a firm commitment by all stakeholders – as well as recognition that no proposals will please everyone – progress to regenerate Macclesfield town centre will not succeed.”

“Agreeing this strategic regeneration framework is a crucial step towards unlocking the fantastic potential of the town and delivering a town centre that the people of Macclesfield deserve and can really take real pride in.”

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”.

Ed: Forgive me, but haven’t we heard all this before? When we became a unitary authority – swapping Macclesfield Borough Council for Cheshire East – I predicted we were all doomed. How right I was.

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