‘Town centre needs to be attractive for people to invest’
LABOUR councillors have said new plans for the town centre regeneration will not provide all the answers to the town’s problems.
And Laura Jeuda, ward councillor for Macclesfield South, urged developers to drop plans for a multi-screen cinema, describing the idea as ‘out-of-date’.
Coun Jeuda said the new scheme was ‘infinitely better and more appropriate for a town the size of Macclesfield’ than the defunct £90m Silk Street plan, but is concerned that it could create parking problems in the town. She also said she believes those who objected to the original Wilson Bowden scheme had been ‘vilified’.
Coun Jeuda said: “I think that a multi-screen cinema is an absolute no-no with the impact that things like Netflix are having. And when I go to the cinema I don’t visit the shops as well.
“We already have a lovely cinema in the heritage centre, so if we’re going to have another one it should be a small one showing alternative films perhaps, not one with five screens – Macclesfield is not Stockport.”
Nick Mannion, ward councillor for Macclesfield South and Ivy, said taking car parks away from people was ‘like taking away green space’ and said the new plan ‘answers one question but generates half a dozen more’.
Coun Mannion added: “Will the council attach conditions to any development such as if you build on 100 spaces, you will need to provide them somewhere else? And would that be practical? Macclesfield town centre is largely laid out just as it was a hundred years ago.
“Since then there have been changes in how people shop and to their social activities.”
Referring to the retail element of the original plans, he said: “It’s not more shops we need but higher quality ones.
“We need to look at what’s worked elsewhere.”
“Macclesfield isn’t Chester or Harrogate but neither is it an old coal mining town like Middlesbrough.
“We need to ask why people aren’t coming into the town centre.
“It’s tired-looking and worn-out and needs to be attractive for people to invest in, live there and visit.”
He added it was important to listen to customers as well as businesses.
He said: “I don’t think that leisure is a silver bullet. It is part of the equation but not the whole of it.” ●●
●● Nick Mannion
●● Laura Jeuda