New town cen­tre plan is re­vealed

£90m Silk Street re­gen­er­a­tion scheme is scrapped by coun­cil Car parks sell-off will pave way for leisure de­vel­op­ment

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN BRIT­TON

NEW plans to re­de­velop Mac­cles­field town cen­tre have been re­vealed – af­ter coun­cil bosses ad­mit­ted the con­tro­ver­sial £90 mil­lion ‘Silk Street’ plan has been scrapped.

Pro­pos­als have been un­veiled to sell off one of two town cen­tre car parks to the devel­oper which comes for­ward with the best leisure plan for the sites.

The move will see a vastly scaled down scheme de­vel­oped for the town cen­tre.

It comes as it was re­vealed that the Silk Street plan to cre­ate a ma­jor new shop­ping cen­tre, with Deben­hams as an an­chor store, had been aban- doned. But coun­cil bosses said that the town could still get a new cin­ema if it was in­cluded in the suc­cess­ful devel­oper’s pro­posal.

The move has been met with a mixed re­sponse. But Bev­er­ley Moore, of Wake Up Mac­cles­field, which op­posed the Silk Street plan, said the new pro­pos­als were bet­ter suited to the town.

NEW scaled back plans to re­gen­er­ate Mac­cles­field town have been cen­tre re­vealed.

Coun­cil bosses have un­veiled pro­pos­als to sell off two sites in the town cen­tre – the Churchill Way car park and Duke Street car park – in or­der to al­low de­vel­op­ers to come up with their own plans for leisure schemes on the plots.

How­ever, Cheshire East Coun­cil leader Michael Jones said it’s most likely that only one of the sites will be de­vel­oped.

The move has re­vealed how much plans for a £90 mil­lion re­de­vel­op­ment of Mac­cles­field have been scaled back since coun­cil bosses an­nounced that its deal with devel­oper Wil­son Bow­den had been put un­der re­view in March.

That news came fol­low­ing the blow of an­chor store Deben­hams pulling out of the deal.

Each of the pro­posed sites is just a third of the size of the pre­vi­ous de­vel­op­ment area.

Coun­cil­lor Jones said the new scheme will be fo­cused on leisure, with a cin­ema still ‘pos­si­ble’ if de­vel­op­ers come up with pro­pos­als to ac­com­mo­date one.

He said the plan will hap­pen ‘as quickly as pos­si­ble’.

He added: “We are putting up both sites to give max­i­mum op­por­tu­nity for de­vel­op­ers to come up with leisure-led schemes, which will be sen­si­tive to the her­itage of Mac­cles­field.”

Coun Jones said the coun­cil had al­ready re­ceived of­fers from de­vel­op­ers.

The pre­vi­ous ‘Silk Street’ scheme had more fo­cus on re­tail, with plans for around 20 shops and a Deben­hams depart­ment store, as well as a town square and the leisure el­e­ment.

The new plans were

an­nounced by coun­cil bosses af­ter Coun Jones re­vealed its con­tract with Wil­son Bow­den had ended within the last few days.

Town cen­tre re­gen­er­a­tion was first mooted a decade ago and res­i­dents have been scep­ti­cal about whether a new scheme will go ahead.

Coun Jones said: “Ten years was un­ac­cept­able. Had we moved ear­lier the Deben­hams scheme may have gone ahead.

“It’s noth­ing to do with Mac­cles­field, it’s to do with the way things are in re­tail and eco­nom­ics. But now the tim­ing is right and we have fan­tas­tic mo­men­tum.”

A Town Cen­tre Vi­sion De­sign Board, led by com­mer­cial prop­erty ex­pert Nick Hynes, has been work­ing with town groups and re­tail­ers to ad­vise the coun­cil. Coun­cil bosses have also re­leased an artist’s im­pres­sion of a devel­oper-led leisure de­vel­op­ment in Corby in Northamp­ton­shire.

The scheme will pro­vide a new Savoy Cin­ema and three ad­join­ing restau­rants which have now been let to Nan­dos, Prezzo and Spurs Steak­houses.

●● This vi­sion of a new cin­ema for Mac­cles­field was part of the scrapped Silk Street scheme but the coun­cil says a cin­ema is still an op­tion un­der the new pro­pos­als

●● This leisure scheme in Corby, de­signed by Bolling­ton ar­chi­tects NBDA, is be­ing used as an ex­am­ple of what could be pos­si­ble in Mac­cles­field

●● Coun­cil leader Michael Jones

●● Cheshire East coun­cil is pre­pared to sell off one or both of these car parks to de­vel­op­ers who can come up with suit­able leisure pro­pos­als

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