Op­po­si­tion is grow­ing to Bar­racks Mill retail plans

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

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.”

Coun­cil­lor

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

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