Opposition is growing to Barracks Mill retail plans
PLANS to build a £13 million retail park on the former Barracks mill site would divert millions of pounds in trade from Macclesfield town centre, it was claimed this week.
The proposals for the six-acre site off Black Lane include four ‘bulky goods’ units, a fast food outlet such as KFC and coffee ‘pod’ potentially run by Costa coffee. Access to the site could be from a new junction off the Silk Road and there will be a 300space car park.
But developers, Cedar Invest, face an uphill battle to get approval from Cheshire East Council after public consultation documents revealed wide scale objection.
Macclesfield Town Council said the scheme would have ‘potential negative economic and social impact’ on the town centre.
With up to 500 vehicles potentially visiting the site on Saturdays, the council also expressed ‘serious’ concern over the impact on local roads, and the ‘potential negative impact’ on residents.
Macclesfield Civic Society, a group which campaigns to protect historic buildings and promotes high standards of new design, claimed the applicant had failed to demonstrate ‘quantitative or qualitative’ need for a retail park.
Keith Smith, secretary of the group, added: “(The developer) clearly envisages a wide range of retail activity at the site with units available for food, clothing as well as white or bulky goods.
“This is contrary to the thrust of both national and local policies for the promotion of town centre activity.”
Beverley Dooley, who represents Macclesfield central ward on Cheshire East Council, claimed that the development will divert millions of pounds in trade from the town centre and could lead to businesses closing and job losses.
However, the development got some support from Darrell Mansfield, chief executive of vehicle recovery and repair firm Mansfield Group, which backs onto the proposed site.
He said after two failed attempts to develop the site the scheme is the ‘best opportunity’ to get rid of an eyesore and could end his vehicles’ use of Withy- fold Drive, adding: “To have this site derelict for yet another 10 years would I believe be a real failure.”
Cedar Invest said housing on the site is not viable but a retail park would complement shops and regenerate an unsafe local eyesore. The plans will be decided at a future meeting of the strategic planning committee.
●● Artist’s impressions and plans of the proposed retail park at Barracks Mill. Inset: Councillor Beverley Dooley says the scheme would divert ‘millions of pounds’ in trade from Macclesfield town centre