His­toric build­ings set to be­come arts venue

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - DANIELLE ROPER

APLANNING ap­pli­ca­tion to cre­ate new com­mu­nity and arts fa­cil­i­ties in Grade II listed town cen­tre build­ings is to be de­bated by coun­cil­lors.

The plans would see the cov­ered but­ter mar­ket and old po­lice sta­tion re­fur­bished.

Cheshire East Coun­cil has ap­plied to cre­ate a venue for com­mu­nity groups fea­tur­ing a cen­tral ground floor cafe in build­ings at the rear of the town hall.

It would have a so­cial space con­nected to an ex­ter­nal court­yard and a large multi-use hall for ac­tiv­i­ties such as ball­room danc­ing, yoga, taichi, lec­tures and fit­ness classes, as well as for wed­dings and other func­tions.

There would be a va­ri­ety of large and small group rooms with IT fa­cil­i­ties and stor­age for meet­ings, com­mu­nity groups and classes and a large arts and crafts space on the first floor with ad­ja­cent stor­age and toi­let fa­cil­i­ties.

How­ever mem­bers of the Ac­tiv­ity In Re­tire­ment char­ity, which is due to be re­lo­cated from its cur­rent home at the Se­nior Cit­i­zens Hall on Duke Street to make way for the town cen­tre re­gen­er­a­tion plans, say the new venue is not suit­able for their re­quire­ments and the group is op­pos­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion.

A spokesper­son for the char­ity, run by re­tired peo­ple for re­tired peo­ple, said: “The plans look won­der­ful but we ob­ject to the build­ing of the new fa­cil­ity on the grounds that there would be in­suf­fi­cient park­ing.

“The park­ing space be­hind the town hall is very small com­pared to that we have on Duke Street.”

The ap­pli­ca­tion, which is due to be de­cided at a meet­ing of the North­ern Plan­ning Meet­ing, states that the pro­posed works would ‘fa­cil­i­tate the fur- ther com­mu­nity use of the build­ing’ and that all pro­posed ex­ten­sions would be ‘ap­pro­pri­ate in scale to the ex­ist­ing build­ings’.

It adds that ‘any mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the Grade II listed build­ings would be ‘in keep­ing with the ex­ist­ing fab­ric’ and states that the ‘sym­pa­thetic na­ture’ of the de­vel­op­ment would ‘con­serve and en­hance a known her­itage as­set which is cur­rently re­dun­dant and un­der threat from ne­glect.’

The pro­pos­als were due to be dis­cussed in Mac­cles­field to­day (Wed­nes­day) and were rec­om­mended for ap­proval.

●● Mac­cles­field Youth Brass Band won the inau­gu­ral Tame­side Youth Cham­pi­onship at the Whit Fri­day marches

●● The old po­lice sta­tion forms part of plans to cre­ate a new com­mu­nity and arts venue

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