Con­cerns over car park­ing in new town plan

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - DANIELLE ROPER

TOWN cen­tre busi­ness own­ers have spo­ken out against plans to sell off car park­ing spa­ces for the town cen­tre re­gen­er­a­tion.

Last week Cheshire East Coun­cil un­veiled new plans to sell off one of two sites in the town cen­tre - the Churchill Way car park or the Duke Street car park - in or­der to al­low de­vel­op­ers to come up with their own plans for leisure schemes.

And while Coun­cil Leader Michael Jones says it is most likely only one car park will be de­vel­oped, Kevin Wil­shaw, from Richard De­laney iron­mon­gers, said there is al­ready a lack of park­ing in the town.

He said: “My con­cern with the plan is park­ing, there is not enough any­way. We could get peo­ple into town but if car park­ing charges stay as they are, they won’t come back.

“I rarely shop here though be­cause of the cost of it.”

Dan Slater, 30, owner of the Comic Book Shop, added: “The town could do with leisure fa­cil­i­ties - it has very lit­tle in the way of leisure, but if they build them on the car parks, where will peo­ple park? Peo­ple will come in from Leek and Con­gle­ton and jam up the cen­tre of town.”

He added that while the town needs leisure fa­cil­i­ties, it would take away the town’s char­ac­ter.

He said: “I think the orig­i­nal town cen­tre plan was a to­tal farce.

“What the town needs is a pol­ish and money putting into what we al­ready have in­stead of all these fancy ideas. Oth­er­wise we’ll just end up with another bog stan­dard build­ing.”

Karen Lawrence, 54, man­ager of the Ye Olde Kings’ Head, is also con­cerned about re­tain­ing the town’s char­ac­ter.

She said: “I think Cheshire East have got Mac­cles­field com­pletely wrong.

“If they build a leisure com­plex it will take away the char­ac­ter of the area.

“The coun­cil just don’t take the traf­fic el­e­ment into con­sid­er­a­tion ei­ther.”

But Nigel Read, part­ner and head of the Mac­cles­field of­fice for law firm SAS Daniels, is in sup­port of the new plans, say­ing the town had been ‘cry­ing out for a cin­ema for ages’.

He added that he didn’t think the park­ing prob­lem would be sig­nif­i­cant if just one car park was built on and that he hoped the new plans would en­cour­age re­tail­ers to re­turn and oc­cupy the ‘huge num­ber of’ empty shops and build­ings.

Speak­ing to the Ex­press last week, Coun Leader Michael Jones said it is most likely only one car park will be de­vel­oped as part of the scheme.

●● Kevin Wil­shaw

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