BIG PIC­TURE

Macclesfield Express - - YOUR VIEWS -

RE­SPONSE IS HEART-WARM­ING

THOSE of you de­lighted by coun­cil leader Michael Jones’ Green Belt re­as­sur­ances, as re­ported in this pa­per, might care to down­load from the coun­cil web­site their Green Belt As­sess­ment Up­date 2015.

This di­vides all Green Belt in Cheshire East into ‘parcels’ which are ranked ac­cord­ing to how well they meet each of five na­tional Green Belt cri­te­ria. While all parcels were found to merit their Green Belt sta­tus, the re­port pro­poses that many should lose the pro­tec­tion which this cur­rently of­fers. It sug­gests all land in the least sacro­sanct cat­e­gory, and prob­a­bly sub­stan­tial swathes of the sec­ond, should be de­vel­oped in the com­ing years. This doc­u­ment will em­power de­vel­op­ers and disem­power protest­ing res­i­dents groups. Parcels re­leased will typ­i­cally in­crease in value while the com­mu­nity bears the con­se­quences.

The pro­posed King’s School de­vel­op­ment pro­vides an in­ter­est­ing test. In ad­di­tion to the de­ci­sion re­lated to the new site there is also the ques­tion of re­de­vel­op­ment of ex­ist­ing sites. For ex­am­ple King’s owns, but does not use, Green Belt land ad­ja­cent to its Fence Av­enue site. The pro­posed 250 homes could be built with­out us­ing this land. How­ever the value of the land is in­creased if, as the coun­cil in­tends, this par­cel is in­cluded. Help­ing to fi­nance King’s new school is not among the com­pelling rea­sons cur­rently re­quired to jus­tify in­tru­sion into the Green Belt.

Fol­low­ing our call in last month’s edi­tion of this col­umn for the coun­cil to aban­don its plans to sell off Mac­cles­field town cen­tre car parks, and in­stead of­fer free park­ing for shop­pers, some new sup­port­ing ev­i­dence came to light. The Daily Tele­graph re­ported that in Cardi­gan, West Wales, lack of money for re­pairs meant that all the park­ing ma­chines, were out of or­der. Sales in the town’s hard-pressed shops were boosted by up to 50 per cent. Traders found that shop­pers were tak­ing ad­van­tage of the free park­ing to stay longer and that the town was much busier. Con­ser­va­tive High Street Min­is­ter Mar­cus Jones com­mented that coun­cils should de­velop their poli­cies to make sure that they are at­tract­ing peo­ple to come and shop and to fre­quent the high street. Per­haps Cheshire East’s Mr M Jones will lis­ten to him.

●● Chris O’Neill sent us this pic­ture he took of Mac­cles­field Canal near Lyme Green. Email your im­ages to mac­cles­field­ex­press @men­media.co.uk or upload them to our Flickr page www.flickr.com/groups/mac­cpics. We’ll print the best ones

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