Fears are raised over £13m retail park plan
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