The “Macclesfield for Business Steering Group” concluded it’s response to the Cheshire East Council consultation on “There’s no place like Macclesfield, a 5-year vision, strategy and action plan for the revitalisation of Macclesfield.”
The Steering Group, formed in October 2017 by Enterprising Macclesfield in conjunction with Macclesfield Chamber of Commerce, comprises businesses, public sector organisations, social enterprises and business groups in and around Macclesfield. Taken together, these organisations and their members represent hundreds of businesses in the area and thousands of employees. The Macclesfield for Business Steering Group was formed to coordinate the views of key employers in Macclesfield and produce a consolidated business response on the town centre regeneration strategy for Macclesfield. Tim Shercliff, Chairman of Enterprising Macclesfield and spokesman for the group said “Every member of this our Macclesfield for Business Steering Group is keen to contribute to the consultation process to help make Macclesfield a more desirable place to live and work”.
The steering group coordinated the development and publication of an online survey to employers and their employees to gather some vital information and data to feed into the consultation process. The findings have been presented in a report format, which is available publicly here.
In the consolidated response to the consultation the group emphasised that all organisations in the local area need their employees to see Macclesfield as a great place to live, work and play. Key points raised in the document and through the survey included:
- As businesses, we recognise the potential of Macclesfield but equally recognise that potential remains untapped unless there are specific goals set, building towards a future desired state. As a result, we believe the ambition and goals for Macclesfield need to be more aspirational and clearly stated both over this 5-year period and beyond.
- In order to have a coherent and well-designed town centre, linked appropriately to its immediate environment, we believe that Macclesfield needs a properly constructed master plan and design, consistent with the ambition and goals we should have for the town.
- The regeneration of Macclesfield should focus on certain buildings that need addressing, as they are currently eyesores and a detriment to the image of the town.
- We welcome the funding outlined in the 5-year plan to improve the Public Realm. However, we believe that this is likely to prove inadequate to put in place the necessary improvements to the Public Realm, other infrastructure and the renovation of council owned buildings and other assets.
- An area that we think it is vital to improve is that of communication and engagement. During the consultation process, there should be continuing engagement with the public and updates on progress and the timetable for finalising plans.
- We believe there is a need for collaboration between Cheshire East Council and local businesses/employers in addition to other key groups representing different aspects of the town. This group should focus on the development of Macclesfield town centre and tap into the assets of our local people who have the initiative, drive and passion to build the town’s future.
- There are clearly elements of the 5-year plan that only the Council can deliver. However, this does not mean that the re-vitalisation plan for Macclesfield should necessarily be a Council owned and produced document. We believe that the Council should work with other groups, including the business community, to produce a plan which is owned by the whole town. Key elements of it will be the responsibility of different organisations, including CEC departments, Macclesfield Town Council (who we believe should have a prominent role), private investors and other groups who bring vitality to the town.
The appendices of the report included a summary of the Steering Group’s visit to landscape architects involved in the revitalisation of Altrincham, and how they managed public spending sensibly in innovative ways to improve the town centre. This has since triggered further private investment in the Altrincham area and a substantial increase in footfall.
The Macclesfield for Business Steering Group would like the Council to take our input on board and work collaboratively with us to make Macclesfield the best place it can be.
The signatories of the report and members of the Macclesfield for Business Steering Group were: