MIM Members Meeting – Thursday 23rd November 2017

mim logo nameMIM Members Meeting – Thursday 23rd November 2017
Discussion Summary

Transport and Car Parking
1. There appears to be no overall transport strategy for Macclesfield
2. Has the impact of closure of Churchill Way car park been fully thought through – especially the effect on Treacle market? The comment “without the Churchill carpark Treacle wouldn’t survive” was a powerful image
3. The shortage of and cost of spaces for people working in Macclesfield has a negative impact on the town centre
4. Disabled access is best from Churchill way,
5. Duke Street would have been a better choice for development
6. Multi storey car park in Grosvenor needs replacing

Town Centre Businesses
1. Few incentives currently to locate businesses in the Town Centre
2. CEC do not offer rate reductions or waivers to small business in the centre especially new independents, trading conditions are more favourable in other towns, for example in Buxton where Derbyshire doesn’t charge rates to shops with a turnover below £100K pa
3. Parking for in-town employees is difficult. Discussion led to a proposal to consider a park and ride scheme specifically for all day parking. Would be useful for the station too.
4. Small business rate relief not easy to navigate / get in Macclesfield yet vs in rural areas where it is made easier
5. All this makes locating out of town is more attractive than in town – not what we need.

Traffic & transport
1. The town is already over capacity for the main roads running through central areas which has a negative impact on business productivity.
2. The resulting air pollution levels are unacceptable in some areas and damaging to the health of the population.
3. Proposed new relief road for Poynton and the SMDA link road will increase this problem by increasing the number of vehicles driving through Macclesfield by at least 16%.
4. The public transport system is not fit for purpose and the night time economy won’t grow until this is addressed.

Public Realm
1. Significant additional funding is needed to improve the poor state of the public realm. This is a long term issue. The frontages, street furniture and overall lack of cleanliness of the town centre has a serious negative impact on the town and its ability to attract footfall. Successful towns have high quality attractive infrastructure, are walkable and have more green space and social areas within the shopping area.
2. The funding streams that CEC derives from the large number of housing developments in the greenbelt around Macclesfield produce a considerable income stream which could be diverted to pay for improvements to the public realm.
3. Toilet provision is an issue especially in periods of high in town use (Treacle). Could be public provision or a shop and restaurant incentive scheme or both. It needs action.
Arts, Heritage, Culture, Events and the Visitor Economy
1. Need for a joined-up strategy – the new CHAF group could be the voice of the sector.
2. Don’t assume that Barnaby and Treacle are built in to the town’s future – they require the commitment and discretionary time of dedicated individuals to succeed
3. We need both engagement from and investment in our museums
4. Pursue and take advantage of the Chinese connection- “Western end of the Silk Road”. In essence this would be a twinning with Xi’an. Could be powerful. It differentiates Macclesfield, making it a “destination” for the increasing numbers of Chinese visitors being attracted by Manchester.

Governance
1. In the 2017-30 period the focus of Cheshire East is on Crewe and the potential impact of HS2. This inevitably dilutes attention from Macclesfield’s needs.
2. There was broad recognition that effective engagement and consultation was the key to future success but the Consultation Draft’s emphasis on financial capital as the criteria for membership of the proposed Collaboration Board was not accepted.
3. The things that have kept the town afloat in recent years had little or nothing to do with financial capital. They are the result of good ideas, hard work and excellent execution by the people that make up the massively important but less tangible social capital in the town.
4. This social capital has to play a key role in any new regeneration governance structure
5. Everyone can’t play a role but the town’s social capital needs a clear voice – it needs balance.
6. The Collaboration Board has to differ from the previous Stakeholder Panel in that all members of the Board should be equal partners
7. It is unclear what’s happening to the Stakeholder Panel in the future. Is there a role for a body of this sort, acting as a representative consultation body?

Funding
1. It is clear that Macclesfield receives significantly less regeneration funding than Crewe, both in per capita and absolute terms.
2. Crewe’s issues were acknowledged but this doesn’t mean that Macclesfield should be so seriously underfunded.
3. Additional funding in the region of £4-6m is needed to improve the poor state of the public realm.
4. Additional funds would be required to address the many other challenges of re-urbanisation and other funding sources should be explored
4. MIM should draw up a shopping list of scoped out projects ready to respond to opportunities for funding by the LEP/others. Other towns have these in place to use opportunistically. Select 3-4 to scope up further. Possible examples include a viable use for the Library in Park Green, a Western End of the Silk Road destination feature in Park Green and the roofing of Chestergate, a visionary proposal that has been in the pending tray for many year