£50K bid to spruce up shop fronts
ANEW scheme to help town centre businesses improve the look of their shop fronts has been launched.
Cheshire East Council has agreed to create a £50,000 pot and allow shops in the area at the bottom of Mill Street to bid for up to £2,000.
It means up to 25 shops in that area of the town centre could benefit.
The cash aims to boost the existing regeneration and development programme centred around plans for the £15m cinema and restaurant scheme.
Last week, the Express revealed that the council and Ask Retail Estate finally agreed the sale of Churchill Way car park for the development.
The council is also spending £1m on other projects in a bid to improve the streets sur- rounding the development, which is due at the end of 2018.
In a report to the council’s cabinet member for Regeneration, Macclesfield’s project director Jo Wise said the scheme builds on a similar project for Market Place and Chestergate in 2015.
She said: “Not only did that investment enhance the appearance of that area of the town, following that investment a number of formerly vacant properties in that area have been reoccupied and there has been a noticeable degree of private sector investment in shop units in that area.”
The scheme has the support of ward councillors Beverley Dooley and Janet Jackson.
The shop front proposals follows a number of projects to improve the ailing town centre. Sparrow Park got a revamp and new lighting in the trees, while the Middlewood Way and the Silk Road underpass have been cleaned up and had new art installed.
The council is also looking for bidders for a project to enhance the public realm on Exchange Street, Castle Street and the pedestrianised upper section of Mill Street.
Mrs Wise added: “There is an important need to revitalise Macclesfield town centre, which has seen an increasing number of vacant properties, decreased footfall and a reducing retail market share.
“Indeed, Macclesfield has been specifically identified in recent national research as a town where the town centre offer is lagging behind the aspirations of the population living nearby, with potential for a far more aspirational retail offer if perceptions of the centre can be changed.”
Shops on Market Place benefited from shop front grants in 2015