Nov 13th 2015 update – Lots of news

Updates on:

1. Leisure development plans.

2. Lidl plans – planning application submitted

3. A new business support initiative for Macc.

4. South Park plans – questionnaire to complete.

5. Barracks Mill proposals – developers want to build retail park next to big Tesco.

6. South Macclesfield development and new supermarket – planning permission granted.

7. Next Make it Macclesfield breakfast meeting

1. Leisure development

CEC have received 19 proposals for a development on either Churchill Way or Duke Street car park. All include a cinema and restaurants; some include other elements too.

The decision making process 

An assessment panel has been formed bringing together people from inside and outside CEC with (to quote CEC) ‘significant combined experience in planning, regeneration, land sales, development delivery, development financing, local knowledge of the site, the town centre and the Town Centre Vision, as well as stakeholders aspirations for the town centre.’

This panel comprises:

BNP Paribas, Director, Development Consulting
Sanderson Weatherall, Partner, Property Section
CEC Delivery Executive for Macclesfield Town Centre Vision
CEC Director of Growth and Regeneration
CEC Head of Regeneration
CEC Project Director Macclesfield Regeneration (Jo Wise, who has been very involved with the Stakeholder Panel)

The panel will make a recommendation as to what they consider the best option based on the ‘overall benefit’ to the town centre. Criteria include deliverability, regeneration benefits, fit with planning policy and vision, and price achievable.

Members of the stakeholder panel are being asked to consider the submitted proposals and give individual comments so the views of the various stakeholder groups can be taken account of in the discussions.

Details of the schemes are, however, not being made public at this stage.

This is because – in the council’s words – ‘it is important we do not allow any images or details of any content of any submission to leave our care – aside from possible copyright issues, there is a risk that any disclosure could be argued to give an ‘edge’ to another party should they  learn the details of another’s submission. We must ensure the integrity and fairness of the process is not in any way undermined.’

Authority to make the final decision has been delegated to the Executive Director of Economic Growth and Prosperity (Caroline Simpson) in consultation with the Portfolio Holders for Macclesfield, Regeneration and Assets and Finance and Assets, and the Chief Operating Officer and Head of Legal Services.

I am hopeful that following the experiences of the last few years and our discussions at the stakeholder group there’s a better understanding now within CEC of what ‘overall benefit’ actually means in the context of Macclesfield town centre.

The chosen scheme will still of course have to go through the planning process, at which point all details will become public and people can give their views.

2. Lidl plans

Lidl have finally put in their planning application for a store at Park Green.

The documentation is a bit confusing. The images at the start of the design and access statement are nothing to do with the Macclesfield plans. It’s not clear what the proposed store would actually look like. They give us the three images that were shown in the public consultation and say that the preferred was the ‘new traditional’, but don’t confirm that this is in fact what they are planning to build. The only images of the actual proposals I can find are the elevation drawings. I’ve asked the planning department if they can request something more but haven’t heard back yet. We understand that insufficient information is a valid reason to object to a planning proposal.

Deadline for comments is 25th November.

See plans on CEC website

3. New business support initiative – Enterprising Macclesfield

Enterprising Macclesfield is a new initiative being launched by the Make it Macclesfield team as a focal point to encourage and support social and commercial enterprise in the area. The aim is to provide support and funding to entrepreneurs with an ambition to develop sustainable enterprises. The group will support both startups and established enterprises, provided they can see how this support will deliver measurable benefits to the community.

There’s an open launch event on 17th November at the Heritage Centre – agenda as follows.

19:30 – Reception & refreshments
20:00 – An introduction to Enterprising Macclesfield – Tim Shercliff, Chair, Enterprising Macclesfield
20:15 – Encouraging enterprise – Rt Hon David Rutley MP
20:20 – Funding Grants – Zoe Sheppard, Chief Executive, Cheshire Community Foundation
20:30 – How can you help?
20:40 – Networking and informal discussion
21:30 – Close

4. South Park

Plans have been drawn up for new facilities at South Park. The idea is to create an ‘Action Station’, with a wide range of sporting and fitness facilities. S:Park (Friends of South Park) have put together a questionnaire to find out what people think of the ideas.  Whether you’re currently a South Park user or not, please do take a look at the plans, see what you think, and fill out the quick questionnaire.

See the proposals (PDF)

Questionnaire

Word version of questionnaire – if you can open Word, this is the easiest. Save onto your own PC, type onto, email back as an attachment

PDF version of questionnaire – if you can only open PDFs, you can print this version, write on it, scan and email back as an attachment.

Alternatively, you can print off the form and drop it in at the Park Tavern.

5. Barracks Mill

Cedar Invest and Castlemore Securities Private Directors Pension Scheme Ltd are proposing to apply for planning permission for four retail units, a fast food outlet and a coffee shop at the Barracks Mill site off Black Lane – the derelict factory next to the big Tesco. There’s no doubt something needs to be done on this site, but a proposal such as this clearly goes against town centre first planning guidelines.

There will be an initial public consultation at Hurdsfield Library (7 Hurdsfield Green, SK10 2RJ) on Thursday 19th November between 4pm and 7pm.

6. South Macclesfield development

The Cheshire East strategic planning board have approved an application for redevelopment of the open land and playing fields off the Congleton Rd, south of Moss Lane. The plans include up to 325 residential units, a class A1 retail store of up to 80,000 square feet, and  replacement sports facilities.

The split between convenience (food and other day-to-day items) and comparison goods (everything else) to be sold in the supermarket was agreed at 70:30. A new out of town store selling such a wide range of goods will potentially have a significant impact on the town centre, and the decision raises big questions about the application – or not – of  ‘town centre first’ policy.

7. Next Make it Macclesfield breakfast meeting

The next of the regular MiM breakfast meetings will be on 20th November at 8.00 am in the town hall.  Updates from the town council, the Stakeholder Panel, and MiM.  All welcome but there’s limited space so you need to book.  See MiM breakfast meeting details here.

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Debenhams pulls out – 3rd March 2015

According to a Cheshire East Council news release, anchor tenant Debenhams has announced the retailer will terminate their pre-let agreement with Silk Street developer Wilson Bowden. This decision calls into question the future of the entire controversial development

As Wake Up Macclesfield has maintained since before planning permission for the retail complex was granted by CEC in June 2013, it was always unlikely Debenhams would invest in a bricks and mortar store in Macclesfield. With online shopping on the rise, the retail giant has been facing precarious market conditions for some time and has seen sharp declines in profit.

http://www.fashionunited.co.uk/fashion-news/fashion/debenhams-to-change-strategy-after-profit-decline-2014041620787

Notably, Debenhams boss Michael Sharp conceded in January 2013 ‘the market isn’t growing, it’s about stealing market share if we’re going to grow’. WuM has long publicly warned that this approach would have a devastating effect on the remaining competitors in town, independent and national chain stores alike.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/jan/08/debenhams-discounting-sales-up-5-percent

Adding to the pressure on the developer, a recent viability report makes a point of saying the 13% proposed return on investment as forecast by Wilson Bowden is unusually low; the minimum is usually 20%. It remains to be seen if the development will now be scrapped given that market conditions are unlikely to change.

See full story in the Macclesfield Express

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Compulsory Purchase Order inquiry scheduled for April 2015

Before the development can start, Cheshire East have to buy the few plots of land they don’t already own. This is being done through by a series of Compulsory Purchase Orders. Some of the landowners/businesses affected have objected, and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Eric Pickles) has announced an local public inquiry.

Here are the details:

The Chester East Borough Council (Churchill Way, Macclesfield) Compulsory Purchase Order 2014

Notice is given that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Governmenthas instructed one of his Inspectors to hold a public local inquiry into the above order at Oakleigh House (Macclesfield Masonic Hall), 1 Riseley Street, Macclesfield,Cheshire, SK10 1BW on 21 April 2015 starting at 10.00 am. It is anticipated that the the inquiry will last four days.

Objectors to the order and/or their appointed representatives may attend to state their case to the Inspector. Other interested persons may attend and, at the Inspector’s discretion, state their views on the order. If you give, or call another person to give evidence at the inquiry by reading from a written statement you are required in accordance with Rules 15(1), (2) and (3) of the Compulsory Purchase (Inquiries Procedure) Rules 2007 to send a copy of that statement with a summary (where required) to the Inspector c/o: Environment & Transport Team, The Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/25 Hawk Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay,Bristol BS1 6PN and to the acquiring authority by 31 March 2015.

 

Read the government guide to the CPO process

 

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Feb 2015: Can you stand for Macclesfield Town Council?

Cheshire East Council’s Constitution Committee has now approved the idea of a town council for Macclesfield.  Elections will be held on May 7th 2015.

Let’s make this new body as intelligent, determined and useful as possible, with party politics held at bay and tangible, practical things achieved for the town. Whilst in most ways its powers will be very limited, we know the small things can make a big difference. And, importantly, whilst the town council won’t control planning decisions, it will be able to exert a strong influence via the creation of a neighbourhood plan.

Neighbourhood plans

Neighbourhood plans are a new concept and are only just starting to be put into practice. Once a neighbourhood plan has been agreed through the statutory channels, it has legal weight and has to be taken account of in future planning decisions. The evidence so far suggests they are having an real impact on planning decisions.

Please think about whether you could stand for the council, and work for a better town.

Briefings for prospective candidates

Cheshire East Council have arranged briefings for potential candidates to explain the nomination procedures and other important election matters.

Due to the limited number of places available at each of the sessions, it is very important that interested people contact the Cheshire East elections team to reserve their place as soon as possible. You can do this by phoning 01270 685922 or by email to: electoral.information@cheshireeast.gov.uk.

Macclesfield briefings are scheduled on the following dates:

24th February 7pm and 5th March 7pm

Venue details will be provided upon booking.

 

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Silk Street viability assessment May 2014

Following a Freedom of Information request, we received a heavily redacted copy of the viability assessment commissioned by Cheshire East in May 2014. This, as expected, shows little more than that Wilson Bowden’s sums about the costs and profitability of the development add up – based on their own assumptions of how many units will be let.

It does point out that the low profit margin of 13.4% allowed for in Wilson Bowden’s original calculations would not normally be an acceptable level of return for a developer and that this margin has now dropped to 13.1%, but states that as Wilson Bowden are happy to proceed on this basis then the development is considered viable.

Read the May 2014 Silk Street viability assessment

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Local Services Delivery Committee recommends town council

On 12th November, the Cheshire East Local Services Delivery Committee (LSDC)  voted by  a majority of 8 to 2 councillors to recommend the formation of a Single Parish (=Town) Council for Macclesfield. The LSDC consists of Macclesfield councillors sitting on Cheshire East Council.

The recommendation follows the majority vote by local residents in favour of a town council and now goes to the CEC Constitution Committee. This will in turn vote on a recommendation to Cheshire East Council, which has the final say.

The Constitution Committee  meets next Wednesday, 19 November, 6pm, in Westfields, Sandbach.

http://moderngov.cheshireeast.gov.uk/ecminutes/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=487

 

 

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Governance – forms in by 28th July

It’s now your last chance to tell Cheshire East what governance you want for Macclesfield.  You should have the mailing from the council with the lilac voting form; Forms have to be in by 5pm on 28th July

The three options:

1a. Enhanced Macclesfield Local Service Delivery Committee plus the Charter Trustees

The Local Service Delivery Committee is a Cheshire East committee run by the 12 Cheshire East Councillors who represent Macclesfield’s town wards.  The Committee has no role in planning or other county level matters.

It has been set up to consider and advise the Council on the quality, quantity and cost of service provision in Macclesfield. Its function is to ensure fairness of taxation for local services (such as community halls and allotments) that elsewhere in the Borough are provided by Parish / Town Councils.

We are told the committee’s role would be enhanced and that it could potentially take over the running of certain local services. Its work would however continue to be part of the CEC decision making structure and any additional powers would be granted or withdrawn at the discretion of Cheshire East. It could not own any assets.

We understand also that the role will not include any statutory powers of representation, meaning Cheshire East can ignore any advice it gives.

In addition, we have been told that although a cross-party group of LSDC members did propose some terms of reference and more powers for such a body a while ago, the proposal they tabled was rejected by Cheshire East Council’s Governance Committee.

Whatever powers the committee might have, Cheshire East will be legally responsible for its acts and will therefore have to maintain close oversight plus a potential veto.

The Charter Trustees look after ceremonial functions only and have no operational or representative responsibilities.

 Cost: The Service Delivery Committee cost is currently met out of Cheshire East council tax, but in future is it likely that a Special Expense will be added to Macclesfield residents council tax bills. There is also a small charge for the Charter Trustees (currently £1.55 for Council Tax band D).

1b. A parish (town council) which would either be:

2a. A single Town Council

This would be a new body with elected representatives separate from Cheshire East. You would vote for a representative (or representatives) for your own ward. Town councils (which are the same these days as parish councils) are typically non-party political. A town council would be a statutory consultee on every Cheshire East consultation and all local planning applications, meaning its views could not be easily ignored. It could also create a neighbourhood plan which would have to be used as a basis for planning decisions. Town councils can also directly own and manage local assets, and many (such as Bollington) actively market their towns to attract tourists and boost local trade. All the local Town Councillors in East Cheshire are unpaid and don’t get any expenses for attending meetings. The town council would take over the role of the Charter Trustees.

2b. Seven smaller councils: Seven bodies with same powers as a town council but each representing just one small part of the town, the current Cheshire East wards. This would mean no single voice for the town as a whole.

With this arrangement, there could be multiple approaches to service provision, and as many of the facilities/services provided locally for the whole town are situated in only one of the wards, the separate councils would have to agree on who should fund and manage any agreed initiative or service.

Cost:  A Town Council can raise a local charge (called a precept). The amount would depend on what services it decided to operate.

Note: Whichever system we choose, Cheshire East Council will remain responsible for major services such as planning decisions. However, if we vote for a town council for Macclesfield, Macclesfield will be represented in these decisions.  If we vote for an enhanced Local Service Delivery Committee, Cheshire East will continue to be unchallenged.  Every area of Cheshire East, except Macclesfield, is currently represented by a Parish or Town Council, and each of the unparished areas to date have chosen that form of governance.

The results of this exercise are not binding on CEC – the vote is being held as part of the statutory consultation process. But please get involved and show that Macclesfield residents do care about how decisions are made on our behalf.

 

 

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Update 11th July 2014

1. Compulsory Purchase Orders

As they reach what by our reckoning is their contractual deadline, CEC are submitting the CPOs to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Those directly affected have the right to object. If this happens, there could be a public enquiry. CEC are expecting an enquiry, with a hearing to be held locally this autumn and a decision made in the spring of next year. Subject to approval, CEC anticipate work starting on site late in 2015 and project completion at the end of 2017.

2. Debenhams

Debenhams financial performance is still problematic and not only it has pulled out of two other similar schemes in the last month or so, it also appears to have boxed Newport Council into a corner with the town’sproposed Friar’s Walk Development. When the developers failed to find finance/sufficient pre-lets within the required time frame, Debenhams considered pulling out, saying they needed things to move more quickly. As a result, the council has borrowed £90 million to lend to the developers so that work could start. read more at http://www.ilovemacc.com/2014/07/11/silk-street-developmen-cost-us-dearly/

3. Lidl coming to town?

Lidl are in talks with CEC about building on the Towers site – the semi-derelict office block by the Park Lane/Churchill Way roundabout. Letters have sent out by Lidl to town residents saying they are working with CEC on ‘proposals for a mixed-use scheme in a building that will act as a landmark into the proposed Silk Quarter’.

Lidl are holding a public consultation meeting next Tuesday, the 15th July (definitely Tuesday, for anyone who saw the Facebook post that said Wednesday). Senior Citizens’ Hall, 2.30 – 7pm. Please go and see what the exactly the proposals are and give your considered opinion.

4. Local governance

Everyone in town should have had voting papers from CEC regarding the three options. You should also have had (or be getting one shortly) a flyer from the Civic Society talking about the benefits of the town council option.

A few comments:

Local Service Delivery Committee: We have this at the moment. It is comprised of CEC councillors from Macclesfield town wards. It has no power to do anything beyond give advice and make recommendations to CEC, which can be – and are – ignored. We are told the committee’s role would be enhanced and that it could potentially take over the running of certain local services. Its work would however continue to be part of the CEC decision making structure and any additional powers would be granted or withdrawn at the discretion of Cheshire East. It could not own any assets.

Single Town Council: This would be a new body with elected representatives separate from CEC. You would vote for a representative (or representatives) for your own ward. Town councils (which are the same these days as parish councils) are typically non-party political. A town council would be a statutory consultee on every Cheshire East consultation and all local planning applications, meaning its views could not be easily ignored. It could also create a neighbourhood plan which would have to be used as a basis for planning decisions. Town councils can also directly own and manage local assets, and many (such as Bollington) actively market their towns to attract tourists and boost local trade. All the local Town Councillors in East Cheshire are unpaid and don’t get any expenses for attending meetings. The town council would take over the role of the Charter Trustees.

Seven smaller councils: Seven bodies with same powers as a town council but each representing just one small part of the town, meaning there could be multiple approaches to service provision and no single voice for the town as a whole.

Whichever option we get, there will be an additional cost.

Note that the results of this exercise are not binding on CEC. The vote is part of the statutory consultation process. Nevertheless, it’s important to make our voices heard.

Public meetings next Wednesday 16th July

Macclesfield Town Hall – Assembly Rooms: 12.30 – 1.30pm and 2.30 – 3.30pm Rugby Club – 7-8pm

More background here – http://wakeupmacc.org.uk/governance-for-macclesfield-voting-coming-up/

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Governance for Macclesfield – voting coming up

 We will shortly be asked to vote for our preferred system of town governance.

It is looking as if Cheshire East will be offering what they say are two options, but which are effectively three:

a) An Enhanced Local Service Delivery Committee plus the Charter Trustees.

b) One or more town/parish councils.

Whichever system we choose, Cheshire East Council will remain responsible for major services such as planning decisions. However, if we vote for a town council for Macclesfield, Macclesfield will be represented in these decisions.  If we vote for an enhanced Local Service Delivery Committee, Cheshire East will continue to reign unchallenged.  Every area of Cheshire East, except Macclesfield, is currently represented by a Parish or Town Council, and each of the unparished areas to date have chosen that form of governance.

It is likely there will be an additional cost for both options.

More details:

a) Enhanced Macclesfield Local Service Delivery Committee plus the Charter Trustees

The Local Service Delivery Committee is a Cheshire East committee run by the 12 Cheshire East Councillors who represent Macclesfield’s town wards.  The Committee doesn’t currently represent the interests of the local community on things such as planning applications and highways matters. It has been set up to consider and advise the Council on the quality, quantity and cost of service provision in Macclesfield. Its function is to ensure fairness of taxation for local services (such as community halls and allotments) that elsewhere in the Borough are provided by Parish / Town Councils. Possible terms of reference for an enhanced role are still being discussed but we understand that the role will not include any statutory powers of representation, meaning Cheshire East can ignore any advice it gives.

The Charter Trustees look after ceremonial functions only and have no operational or representative responsibilities.

Cost: The Service Delivery Committee cost is currently met out of Cheshire East council tax, but in future is it likely that a Special Expense will be added to Macclesfield residents council tax bills. There is also a small charge for the Charter Trustees (currently £1.55 for Council Tax band D).

 

b) One or more town/parish councils

The terms town and parish council are used interchangeably but mean the same thing.  Any town councils would be independent of Cheshire East, as people will be elected separately. This would mean that the party political make up of the council might be different to that of Cheshire East.

Under the 2012 Localism Act, town councils have greater powers than they did previously, meaning that they can offer democratic representation and accountability, the ability to influence decision making by other bodies and the ability to deliver existing services or provide additional services.

A Macclesfield Town Council would have the power to:

  • Develop and state local positions as a statutory consultee on every Cheshire East consultation and all local planning applications.
  • Create a Neighbourhood Plan. This would become part of any local development plan and would have to be used as a basis for making decisions on planning.
  • Directly manage local assets.
  • Provide support for local services.
  • Work in permanent partnership with a variety of local bodies to improve their services.
  • Work with and support local community groups across the Town.
  • Do anything that it is legal for an individual to do. E.g. Own property, start a business, employ staff to provide a service etc.
  • Support the Mayoralty.

There is also the option of splitting Macclesfield into up to seven different parishes each with their own council. This option would mean no single voice for the town.

Cost:  A Town Council can raise a local charge (called a precept). The amount would depend on what services it decided to operate.

Cheshire East will soon be finalising details of the options and circulating information.  It is expected that this will include the pros and cons of each option plus examples of what is happening elsewhere.  Every Macclesfield household will get voting papers.

Please get involved and show that Macclesfield residents do care about how decisions are made on our behalf.

You can see details of the governance review committee’s discussions so far here

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Final stages of consultation for the Local Plan Strategy

Essential to contribute now even if you have written before. Deadline 25th April

The Local Plan Strategy has been approved by the Council and is now undergoing a formal consultation period before review by a planning inspector.

Whilst some changes have been made during the earlier consultation periods, the final plan still proposes massive house building on greenfield and greenbelt sites without any requirement to develop town centre brownfield sites first.

Full details and background papers are available at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/localplan,

Even if you have made a written objection at an earlier stage, it is important to do so again now.  This is because the planning inspector only has a statutory duty to look at representations made during this final consultation period. Representations should focus on the issues of  legal compliance and soundness. For an objection to carry any weight, you need to specify in what respect the Plan is considered unsound and what would be needed to make it sound.
The grounds for considering a Plan sound are that it is:

 

•       Justified (founded on a proportionate evidence base and the most appropriate strategy when considered against the reasonable alternatives);

•       Effective (deliverable and based on effective joint working on cross-boundary strategic priorities);

•       Consistent with national policy (predominantly set out in the National Planning Policy Framework); and

•       Positively prepared (the plan should be based on a strategy that seeks to meet objectively assessed development and infrastructure requirements).

All forms must be completed online or received by the Spatial Planning Team at Westfields, Middlewich Road, Sandbach CW11 1HZ by 5pm on 25th April 2014.

 

 

  
 
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