£1m in­vest­ment to breathe new life into town cen­tre

Macclesfield Express - - TOWN CENTRE FACELIFT - KAREN BRIT­TON

AROUND £1m is to be spent giv­ing Mac­cles­field a facelift.

Coun­cil bosses have agreed to spend the money on fresh­en­ing up tired ar­eas of Cas­tle Street, Ex­change Street, Mar­ket Place and up­per Mill Street.

The money will mainly be spent on new street fur­ni­ture, light­ing, green spa­ces and pub­lic art. Paving could also be re­paired and road mark­ings im­proved. Work is ex­pected to be­gin next year.

Coun­cil bosses say the ‘pub­lic realm scheme’ aims to present Mac­cles­field as a creative town with a her­itage in silk.

It’s hoped the in­jec­tion of cash will make ne­glected ar­eas more at­trac­tive to vis­i­tors and shop­pers.

The cash comes on the back of the deal with Ask Real Es­tate to cre­ate a £15m leisure, restau­rant, cin­ema and re­tail scheme on the nearby Churchill Way car park.

Bosses hope the im­prove­ments will cre­ate a bet­ter en­vi­ron­ment for pedes­tri­ans be­tween the project and the town cen­tre shop­ping streets.

It’s hoped it will also com­ple­ment the pub­lic art be­ing cre­ated at the Waters Green un­der­pass.

Coun Don Stock­ton, cabi­net mem­ber for re­gen­er­a­tion, hopes the im­prove­ments will at­tract peo­ple and busi­ness to the cen­tre of Mac­cles­field and boost the town’s lo­cal econ­omy.

He said: “It’s the next step in our strat­egy for the re­gen­er­a­tion of this unique town and is based on ev­i­dence which sug­gests that in­vest­ment in pub­lic realm has a pos­i­tive eco­nomic im­pact in ad­di­tion to the ob­vi­ous en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits.”

How­ever, Beryl Foot­man, 87, from Mac­cles­field Civic So­ci­ety, said that, while any­thing that im­prove the town cen­tre for vis­i­tors is wel­come, she be­lieves the money won’t go far enough.

She said: “£1m won’t go very far un­for­tu­nately. The pave­ments are a mess be­cause de­liv­ery lor­ries use them. There is lots of ex­tra­ne­ous street fur­ni­ture and knocked down signs. We want to be able to go shop­ping in a clean, safe en­vi­ron­ment and I wel­come im­prove­ments that may at­tract peo­ple into town to use our shops.

“High street shop­ping is chang­ing but we still have a tremen­dous stock of shops in Mac­cles­field.

“We have some great in­de­pen­dent re­tail­ers but a lot of peo­ple don’t re­alise.”

The coun­cil will com­mis­sion de­sign work to iden­tify op­tions for the scheme.

‘Ev­i­dence sug­gests that in­vest­ment in pub­lic realm has a pos­i­tive eco­nomic im­pact’

Matt Rat­cliffe

●● £1m is to be spent on new street fur­ni­ture, light­ing, green spa­ces and pub­lic art in parts of Mac­cles­field town cen­tre

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