‘Town cen­tre needs to be at­trac­tive for peo­ple to in­vest’

Macclesfield Express - - TOWN CENTRE SPECIAL REPORT -

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for Mac­cles­field South, urged de­vel­op­ers to drop plans for a multi-screen cin­ema, de­scrib­ing the idea as ‘out-of-date’.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

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