Object to Macclesfield redevelopment plans

The consultation period has ended.

Two things you can still do:

Sign the open letter from local businesses

Contact your local councillor to let them know your views.  Base any letters on planning grounds – see below.

Earlier info on how to object – left here for info about planning grounds for objection.

If you don’t want these plans to go ahead, you need to object before Friday 22nd February i.e TOMORROW

You can either take your letter to Macclesfield town hall, addressed to the Chief Planning Officer,

or

you can submit online using the comment facility in the planning section of www.cheshireeast.gov.uk. Planning reference 12/1212M. See the yellow box on the right hand side of the page titled ‘Available Actions’.

Every letter counts – ask other family members to write in as well.

To carry any weight, your objection must show why the plans do not comply with planning policies. Opinion is not enough.

Listed below on this page you can see the key objections together with the planning policies they are in conflict with.  Please use these details in your own letters.  The details are also in a Word document, to make it easier for you to cut and paste.

Download Word document giving planning objections to Macclesfield town centre redevelopment

The planners seek evidence. Use one or two of the quotes we have found and you will make a stronger case.

See evidence quotes

Short of time?

Download template objection letter  to take to town hall.

or scroll down to ‘short summary letter’ and cut and paste text into the Comments box relating to planning reference 12/1212M in the planning section of www.cheshireeast.gov.uk

Individual letters have the most impact

Please adapt the text and add your own wording if you can.

Already sent in a slip from our ealier flyer? 

Please take the time now to send in a more detailed objection.

Objections

We list first a short summary which you can use either by itself if you are short of time or as an introdution to a longer letter. We then list 15 separate points linked to planning policies.

Short summary letter

Planning Applications 12/1212M & 12/1213M

I wish to object to the Macclesfield town centre redevelopment proposals. These proposals are not in the economic, social or environmental best interests of the town and as such are in direct contravention of the National Planning Policy Framework. In addition, the proposals conflict  directly with a number of points in the Macclesfield local plan as adopted by Cheshire East. This states that we must protect residential and conservation areas  (2.3)(BE3)(BE4), improve despoiled areas (2.3),ensure a high quality of urban design reflecting the character/scale of the town centre, (BE1) (BE2), give access to the natural environment (NE18), create good connections between any new development and the traditional town centre (MTC16), and encourage more town centre housing (MT19). The current proposals do none of these things.


Points to use in longer letters

Choose the points you feel most strongly about as the basis for your letter. The points are in no particular order.

 

I wish to object to the Macclesfield town centre redevelopment proposals, planning application number 12/1212M. I list my objections below and show how the proposals are in direct contravention of both national and local planning policies.

  1. The proposals are based on outdated assumptions that do not take account of the fact fewer and fewer people are shopping in town centres.

Increasingly people prefer to shop online or at large out of town malls such as the Trafford Centre. These trends mean that retailers are closing shops in town centres not opening new ones. Even if new stores come at first, this scheme can only lead to more empty shop units in Macclesfield and would not be in the long term economic interests of the town. All industry experts including the British Retail Consortium and the contributors to the Portas review advise that there is too much retail space and that town centres must find alternative uses for empty stores rather than building more.

It should also be noted that even if the development was to encourage more people to shop in Macclesfield, most money spent in Silk Street would not stay in the area but would go straight to the shareholders of national chains.

Contravenes:

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), Economic role: ‘Contributing to building a strong, responsive and competitive economy’.

NPPF, Social role: ‘Supporting strong, healthy and vibrant communities.’

Local plan target 2.8: ‘Shop vacancy levels should be below 10%’.

2. The plans move activity and car parking away from the top of the town and so make it harder for people to shop in the traditional town centre.

This will send people out of town, reduce footfall and put local independent businesses at risk. There will be no opportunity to push trolleys from the food stores to the car park. Without convenient car parks, those who struggle to carry heavy shopping or have mobility problems will be effectively excluded from  town centre shops, and the success of the Heritage Centre as a base for community activities will be threatened.

The ‘anchor’ department store of the proposed scheme is the furthest away from the existing town centre and closest to the new car park. Current stores are likely to move to the new units to be closer to the department store and new car park, leaving empty premises behind them.

The main parking options will become multi-storey, which in itself will deter many of those who currently shop in the town.

The development is not connected well with the existing town centre.

Contravenes:

NPPF,Economic role: ‘contributing to building a strong, responsive and competitive economy’.

NPPF, Social role: ‘Supporting strong, vibrant and healthy communities’ and ‘providing accessible local services that reflect the community’s needs’.

Local plan, MTC16: ‘Any development should provide pedestrian through routes/links including the establishment of new routes and the opening of the old disused pedestrianized routes at the rear of the north side of Chestergate.’

Local plan MTC2, point 3: ‘Provide pedestrian links to Castle Street’

Local plan MTC2, point 5: ‘Create additional parking spaces at Duke Street’

3.  No provision has been made towards the impact the scheme will have on the existing town nor towards the improvement of the existing town centre.

Any scheme should rejuvenate current eyesores and consolidate what we have, rather than moving the emphasis to a new part of town.

Contravenes:

NPPF, Environmental role: ‘protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment’

Local Plan,2.3: ‘To conserve and enhance the attractive urban and rural environment, improve the despoiled areas, and revitalise the older areas’.

4.  If take up for the new units is low, Macclesfield could become a permanent building site.

Similar projects elsewhere have been started and abandoned because not enough retailers have signed up to make the scheme viable. Even if there are enough takers, construction would last for years. Now is not the time to put Macclesfield’s fragile recovery at risk by starting a major construction project that will reduce numbers coming into the town.

Contravenes:

NPPF, Economic role: ‘Contributing to building a strong, responsive and competitive economy’.

NPPF, Social role: ‘Supporting strong, vibrant and healthy communities’.

5.  The number of full time jobs being promised relies on the units being fully let and busy.

This is unlikely, particularly in the long term. See point one. In addition, most jobs in retail pay minimum wage.

Contravenes:

NPPF, Economic role: ‘Contributing to building a strong, responsive and competitive economy’.

6.  Inadequate car parking spaces

In the unlikely event the number of jobs promised are created, then the proposed car park would be nowhere near big enough for both staff and shoppers.

Contravenes:

NPPF, Economic role: ‘Contributing to building a strong, responsive and competitive economy’.

7.  Big retail names that can be found anywhere are not enough to bring people here.

Stockport has plenty, but still has more empty retail space than Macclesfield and struggles to attract footfall. To attract visitors, we should be looking instead at building on what is unique about the town.

Contravenes:

NPPF, Economic role: ‘Contributing to building a strong, responsive and competitive economy’.

8.  The scheme provides for only five new houses, when Cheshire East say we will need 3,500 and may be forced to build on the green belt.

It misses the opportunity to bring living accommodation into the town centre that would be accessible to local services without needing transport and would bring footfall to town centre businesses.

Contravenes:

NPPF, Social role: ‘providing the supply of housing required to meet the needs of present and future generations.’

NPPF, environmental role, ‘helping to use natural resources prudently, minimise waste and pollution’.

MTC19:  Housing will be encouraged in the town centre.

9.  The cinema and restaurant block will dominate the Christchurch area and bring noise and disturbance

This is currently a quiet residential area, particularly in the evenings.

Contravenes:

MTC20, Christchurch housing area: ‘ Redevelopment of existing non-residential uses will only be permitted for housing. Further changes of use of housing will not normally be allowed.

Overall local plan, point 2.3/8 ‘Protecting residential areas from development which would adversely affect their character or the quality of life within them’.

10.  The scale, height and mass are out of keeping with a historic Cheshire market town.

The elevations facing onto Churchill Way and Duke Street are overpowering and intimidating. Silk Street is narrow and claustrophobic.

Contravenes:

NPPF, Environmental role: ‘contributing to protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment.’

Local plan MTC2: ‘must respect the scale of existing development.’

11.  The design is not appropriate and does not fit with Macclesfield’s historic and architectural heritage.

Instead, the proposed buildings are typical of those seen in failing clone towns across the UK. The Churchill Way frontage is a solid wall from Samuel Street all the way to Roe Street. At the bottom of the hill, it is five storeys high.

The cinema would dominate the Christchurch conservation area, block views of Christchurch and the hills, and change completely the surroundings of he listed Salvation Army Citadel.

The rear of the proposed multi storey car park would be adjacent to the Park Green Conservation area and just across the road from two of our most visited listed buildings, Paradise Mill and the former School of Art, now the Silk Museum. Much work is being done towards creating a national silk centre and boosting tourism to this part of town. A large multi-storey car park would do these Silk Quarter plans no favours.

Contravenes:

NPPF, Environmental role: ‘Contributing to protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment.’

NPPF, Social role ‘creating a high quality built environment.’

Local plan, MTC2 point 2: ‘must achieve a high quality of urban design reflecting the character and scale of the town centre and paying particular attention to the enhancement of the Churchill Way frontage.’

Local plan, MTC8, ‘any development on Samuel Street and Park Lane should enhance the setting of the adjacent Park Green conservation area and listed buildings’.

Local plan, BE3:  ‘development will only be permitted in or adjoining a conservation area which preserves or enhances the character or appearance of the conservation area. Special attention will be paid to matters of bulk, height, materials, colour and design’.

Local plan,BE16:  ‘Development which would adversely affect the setting of a listed building will not normally be approved.’

12.  Traffic flow and air pollution will worsen

Traffic flow within the town is already a problem. The large multi-storey car park with entrance and exit near the Churchill Way/Park Lane roundabout will only make it worse.  In addition, the car park will adjoin, exacerbate and almost certainly extend the heavily polluted air quality management area at the top of the London Rd.

The proposed traffic calming measures will make journeys slower and so encourage drivers to find alternative routes through the narrow residential streets to the West of Churchill Way.

Contravenes:

NPPF, Environmental role: ‘minimise pollution’

Local plan T1, point 2: ‘Non-essential traffic is discouraged from residential areas’

Local  plan T1, point 3: ‘Noise, congestion and pollution are reduced in residential or shopping areas’

13. The plans require the destruction of more than 100 mature trees and the loss of Heritage Walk

Heritage Walk is the only green space in the town centre. This land has been turned into a welcome oasis through the hard work of local volunteers. The sterile grass of the proposed new Mulberry Square is not an appropriate substitute. The plans would also build on open car parks, which whilst not currently attractive, nevertheless give a feeling of space and could be enhanced with trees and plants.

Contravenes NPPF, Environmental role: ‘Contributing to protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment,’ and ‘helping to preserve biodiversity’.

Local plan target 2.10:  ‘no loss of open space’.

Local plan 10.8: ‘To enhance the existing open spaces and create additional outdoor spaces.’

Local Plan NE18: ‘Seek to ensure all residents have an accessible area of nature conservation interest within reasonable walking distance of their homes’.

14.  The scheme does not make good use of natural resources or renewable energy technologies

Best practice would be to use building materials for a mixed use development rather than a purely retail development.

The development will use 2,385 MWh per year, yet despite extensive roof space, the opportunity has been missed to incorporate solar panels into the design. Instead, designers have chosen the cheaper, easier, but far less efficient option of air source heat pumps.

Contravenes:

NPPF, Environmental role: ‘To use natural resources prudently, minimise waste and pollution, and mitigate and adapt to climate change including moving to a low carbon economy.’

15.  Silk Street and Duke Street risk becoming unsafe at night

Both will be narrow and enclosed. With the shutters down, Silk Street will feel intimidating. As these routes will be the main routes from car park to town centre, this will deter people from coming into town after dark.

Contravenes:

NPPF, Social role ‘supporting vibrant and healthy communities’ and ‘creating a high quality built environment.’

Want to cut and paste?

Download Word document giving objections to Macclesfield town centre redevelopment

 

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