Anger as Bar­racks Mill in­quiry not held in Macc

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE -

A LO­CAL leader has slammed the de­ci­sion to hold a pub­lic in­quiry into a con­tro­ver­sial de­vel­op­ment in an­other town.

Plans for a £13 mil­lion scheme to build four large shops on the for­mer Bar­racks Mill site on Black Lane were made the sub­ject of a plan­ning in­quiry af­ter be­ing re­fused by Cheshire East Coun­cil’s plan­ning com­mit­tee.

But de­spite the lo­cal in­ter­est in the scheme - which has di­vided opin­ion among both shop­pers and busi­ness lead­ers in the town - the week long sum­mit took place at Con­gle­ton Town Hall, not in Mac­cles­field.

Coun Bev­er­ley Doo­ley, rep­re­sent­ing Mac­cles­field Cen­tral ward for Cheshire East Coun­cil, has com­plained to coun­cil leader Rachel Bai­ley over the move. She said: “I spent most of the week there, along­side Coun Gareth Jones, from Mac­cles­field Town Coun­cil. The only other speaker was Keith Smith from Mac­cles­field Civic So­ci­ety. These plans are re­ally im­por­tant. I was re­ally dis­ap­pointed with the lack of in­ter­est from the pub­lic. I have asked Rachel Bai­ley why is that in­quiry be­ing held in Con­gle­ton. It should have been held in Macc. It’s Macc is­sue.”

The ap­pli­cant, Cedar In­vest, challenged the coun­cil plan­ning com­mit­tee’s de­ci­sion to refuse the ap­pli­ca­tion last au­tumn.

Ob­jec­tors Mac­cles­field Town Coun­cil, Mac­cles­field Civic So­ci­ety and Eskmuir Se­cu­ri­ties Limited, which owns the Grosvenor Shop­ping Cen­tre, all ar­gue it will di­vert trade from the town cen­tre.

Mac­cles­field MP David Rut­ley even warned it could ad­versely harm the town cen­tre cin­ema scheme.

But a re­port pub­lished by plan­ning of­fi­cers said the pro­posal brings ‘eco­nomic ben­e­fits through new jobs, in­vest­ment in the area and by bring­ing a va­cant brown­field site into vi­able use on one of the key gate­ways to Mac­cles­field’.

Ward coun­cil­lor Steve Carter pre­vi­ously ar­gued the de­vel­op­ment will bring jobs and get rid of a dan­ger­ous build­ing.

Coun Doo­ley said the in­quiry was finely bal­anced, adding: “I can’t tell which way it will swing.

“Both sides have fought their own cor­ner hard.

“There were weak­ness ex­posed for both sides.

“What I do know is that the in­spec­tor has acted very pro­fes­sion­ally and re­as­sured me that he will take into ac­count every­thing that has been said in reach­ing his de­ci­sion.”

If the ap­peal is granted the units could be taken up by big name na­tional brands in­clud­ing Range, Dunelm and Sports Di­rect.

Cheshire East Coun­cil did not re­spond to a re­quest for a com­ment.

The in­quiry was due to end yes­ter­day (Tues­day, July 18).

The in­spec­tor will now con­sider the ev­i­dence be­fore re­turn­ing a de­ci­sion.

Plans for the pro­posed re­tail park at Bar­racks Mill in Mac­cles­field and Coun Bev­er­ley Doo­ley (right)

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