Last days loom­ing for ‘eye­sore’ land­mark

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN BRIT­TON

ONE of the town’s most iconic build­ings is set to be de­mol­ished af­ter more than a hun­dred years.

The old gas­works at Black Lane, which fea­tures a tower that has loomed over the Mac­cles­field land­scape since 1884, could be torn down by own­ers Na­tional Grid.

No plans have been put for­ward for the fu­ture of the site.

Keith Smith, chair­man of Mac­cles­field Civic So­ci­ety, said: “This is sig­nif­i­cant be­cause the gas tow­ers are very fa­mil­iar to ev­ery­one in the town. They have al­ways been there. But they no longer ful­fil a pur­pose so it must be time they went, along with the old Bar­racks Mill nearby. It’s cer­tainly go­ing to help clear the way for de­vel­op­ment in that area, maybe for hous­ing.”

Keith Wal­ton, 81, who was born and bred in Mac­cles­field, said: “I would imag­ine some peo­ple who live nearby at Hurds­field might be glad to see them go. They have been there since the year dot.

“I’m sure that many peo­ple won’t care if they go and if the land can be put to good use it’s all well and good.”

The gas­works was built by a pri­vate com­pany in 1819. The north­ern gas tower, built in 1884, is ‘col­umn guided’ with a two tiers of hor­i­zon­tal guides vis­i­ble from the street, and the sec­ond gas tower, con­structed in 1924, is largely be­low ground.

They were fully dis­con- nected from the gas net­work in March 2012, but have not been in use since 2009.

Na­tional Grid, which man­ages gas sup­ply, has sub­mit­ted a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion to Cheshire East Coun­cil to dis­man­tle the two re­dun­dant gash­old­ers and pipe work.

Com­ment­ing on the ap­pli­ca­tion, Keith Smith, from Mac­cles­field Civic So­ci­ety, said: “The two gas hold­ers are an ac­cepted part of the lo­cal land­scape but it is ac­cepted that they have no sig­nif­i­cant ar­chi­tec­tural or his­toric in­ter­est as en­gi­neer­ing struc­tures.

“Now re­dun­dant, their re­moval would lift some con­straints on de­velop- ment in the lo­cal­ity.”

A spokesman for Na­tional Grid said: “It is our aim to re­move the gash­old­ers as quickly, safely and ef­fi­ciently as pos­si­ble whilst min­imis­ing the im­pact on lo­cal peo­ple and the en­vi­ron­ment.

“Na­tional Grid will keep mem­bers of the com­mu­nity in­formed and up­dated through­out the pro­ject and will be work­ing closely with our con­trac­tor’s and ap­pointed spe­cial­ists to en­sure the pro­ject is car­ried out with as lit­tle dis­rup­tion as pos­si­ble.”

Plan­ning of­fi­cers are ex­pected to make a de­ci­sion on the ap­pli­ca­tion by July 5.

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●● The old gas works at Black Lane could be de­mol­ished

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