Fears are raised over £13m re­tail park plan

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

PLANS for a £13m re­tail park on the former Bar­racks Mill site have come un­der fire amid fears they would ham­per the town cen­tre re­gen­er­a­tion scheme.

Four new re­tail units, a fast food out­let and cof­fee shop are pro­posed for the seven acre site off Black Lane.

The de­vel­oper, Cedar In­vest and Castle­more Se­cu­ri­ties Pri­vate Di­rec­tors Pen­sion Scheme Ltd, said it will boost eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity in the town and cre­ate jobs.

But com­mu­nity lead­ers claim it will have a neg­a­tive im­pact on the ur­gent need to re­gen­er­ate the town cen­tre.

Mac­cles­field MP David Rut­ley said: “I have ma­jor con­cerns about the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment’s im­pact on the town cen­tre.

“Re­gen­er­at­ing the town cen­tre is an ur­gent pri­or­ity and this scheme would take trade away from it.

“While the Bar­racks Mill site does need to be rede- veloped, I do not think that this is the best way for­ward.”

Coun Bev­er­ley Doo­ley, Mac­cles­field Cen­tral ward for Cheshire East Coun­cil, also thinks the re­tail park is bad idea, adding: “There are too many re­tail parks which are hav­ing a neg­a­tive im­pact on the high street.

“I do un­der­stand the way in which we shop has changed and high streets need to adapt to the changes but more out of town shop­ping is not the an­swer.

“A lot of peo­ple have in­vested a lot of time and ef­fort in try­ing to re­gen­er­ate the town cen­tre. I do not want to see time, ef­fort and work go to waste a sec­ond time.”

Bar­racks Mill has been a derelict eye­sore since 2004 when fire ripped through the build­ings.

It was tar­geted again by ar­son­ists in 2013.

More re­cently Po­lice Com­mu­nity Sup­port Of­fi­cers have vis­ited schools to warn chil­dren of the dan­gers of tres­pass­ing on the land.

Over the years the site has been the fo­cus of sev­eral failed de­vel­op­ment bids, in­clud­ing for a re­place­ment Tesco su­per­mar­ket in 2012.

John Whate­ley Cedar In­vest said from

the plans will boost the econ­omy.

He said: “Our plans will bring the dis­used Bar­racks Mill site back into use and help to boost eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity in Mac­cles­field.

“Be­fore we sub­mit our plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion we’ll lis­ten care­fully to the views of lo­cal res­i­dents.

“We’re host­ing a dropin ses­sion so that the com­mu­nity can tell us what they think.”

Coun Steve Carter, Mac­cles­field East, said he would be in favour of hous­ing for the site.

He said: “I would have pre­ferred so­cial hous­ing as there is a short­fall of avail­able prop­er­ties in Mac­cles­field, but de­vel­op­ment of the site will rid the com­mu­nity of an un­safe eye­sore.”

A pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on the scheme will take place at Hurds­field Com­mu­nity Li­brary on Hurds­field Green on Novem­ber 19 from 4pm-7pm.

●● Eye­sore Bar­racks Mill has been empty since 2004 but there are fears its trans­for­ma­tion into a re­tail park could harm the re­vival of the town cen­tre. MP David Rut­ley (in­set) is among those voic­ing con­cerns

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