MP’s call for action on plan
MP David Rutley is urging the council to ‘pick up the pace’ in the regeneration of Macclesfield town centre.
The town’s MP is calling for action to be taken to set out clear plans for a Silk Quarter around the Silk Museum and Paradise Mill. He also wants arrangements for the future of Mill Street to be developed more quickly.
Mr Rutley, pictured, said: “The regeneration of the town centre is taking too long.
“In recent years, we are fortunate to have had a vision for the town crafted by the Make It Macclesfield Forum, the council and local businesses and community groups.
“Other projects such as Alderley Park and Crewe train station have had a lot of time and effort spent on them. Now its our turn; we need the same focus on Macclesfield.”
The £90m retail and leisure Wilson Bowden-led ‘Silk Street’ scheme – which includes a multiplex cinema, restaurants and large department stores – was approved by Cheshire East Council in June 2013.
But the council was forced to start a legal process for compulsory purchase orders (CPO) – which force residents or businesses to sell up – after landowners affected by the scheme refused to sell to the council. The council cannot begin construction until it owns all the land involved.
Mr Rutley said: “The Silk Street scheme was approved more than a year ago now, and the latest news is that it will not start being built until 2016. That gives us over a year to get everything in place, so that the town centre as a whole can thrive again. Lets get on with it.”
One suggestion by the MP is for the council to appoint a director of regeneration for Macclesfield to spearhead the project. At a Make It Macclesfield breakfast meeting on Friday (October 24), Coun Michael Jones, council leader, provided attendees with an update on plans.
Speaking after the meeting, Coun Jones said: “David Rutley and Cheshire East want the same thing – a revitalised, vibrant and thriving Macclesfield.
“As a council we are committed to delivering on this.
“As the second-largest town in the borough, Macclesfield has been, and is being, prioritised as a key location for investment and economic growth. “The CPO has
been agreed. We are doing everything we can to bring the best shops into the scheme. I have met with five of the biggest retailers about coming in.
“A Macclesfield Town Centre Vision has also been produced by the council. This is a shared vision with the Make It Macclesfield Forum.
“This council is committed to delivering on the whole of this ‘vision’ and has already demonstrated this through dedicating funding and investing time and resources, £250,000 has already been spent on improvements in the historic market quarter of the town and a further £500,000 of capital funding has been allocated for the next three years.
“The council is also formulating a Mill Street strategy, looking at short, medium and long-term objectives.
“The council recognises that heritage and culture is an important part of the vision, and has committed funding to a role dedicated to delivering the objectives of this strategy, which will help focus, share and co-ordinate cultural activities in the town.”