Macclesfield's Castle Street re-opens after £1.6 million regeneration

  Posted: 08.10.21 at 20:20 by Alex Greensmith

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Cheshire East Council has officially marked the reopening of Castle Street in Macclesfield following the completion of a scheme to transform the area and support the town’s regeneration.

The public realm scheme for Macclesfield cost £1.6 million.

Work has included widening footways and resurfacing them with natural stone – creating scope for cafés and restaurants to have outdoor seating – using granite cobblestone-style paving in the road and installing new street furniture and improved lighting.

The re-opened street will welcome new businesses like Prime Cut Grill - Bar and Restaurant, which fills a premises that has been vacant since 2011.

An event was held for the Castle Street scheme with both Mayors from Cheshire East and Macclesfield in attendance.

Councillor Nick Mannion was first to speak at the ceremony. The Macclesfield West and Ivy Councillor gave a rousing speech which included the following words.

The street will be 100 years old in 2023.

"It is more than just a physical transformation of Castle Street. It is about shifting the focus of the pedestrian access to the town centre, and the visitor experience, and putting pedestrians and cyclists on par with the car driver."

"We’ve created a space that will encourage people to visit, it will hopefully increase footfall and it is somewhere people will want to come and invest in the future."

Cllr Mannion, who is also chair of Cheshire East Council’s economy and growth committee proudly declared: "Around £7 million of private public investment has been attracted with this scheme alone."

The councillor of six years then joked: "I think by whatever criteria you judge it, whether you a buying Newcastle United football club, or investing in Castle Street, a return like that is something to be proud of."

“This scheme has been much more than just the physical transformation of Castle Street, it has been about shifting the focus to the pedestrian and visitor experience rather than motorists.

Castle Street was back to its busy self one hour after the ceremony.

“By doing that, we have created a space that encourages people to visit, increases footfall and is somewhere that businesses want to invest and locate to.”

40 people gathered for the opening of the street on Friday morning at 10am.

Chris Oakes is director of Huntsmere, a north-west based designer and developer of luxury property. The business is nearing completion of the transformation the former Tax Office on Castle Street into apartments.

Mr Oakes said: “The council’s decision to invest in the public realm in Castle Street encouraged Huntsmere to commit to the purchase and transformation of Craven House, which had been vacant for around eight years.

“The quality of the public realm is not only much improved, but the widening of pavements will enable businesses to create outdoor seating areas – enlivening the street scene, boosting the viability of businesses, and making this a more desirable place to live.

Macclesfield West and Ivy Councillor Nick Mannion Labour's Nick Mannion gave a rallying speech.

“It complements our own development and supports town centre vitality.”

Pre-existing businesses on the street include Silktown Fryer, and of course all those in The Grosvenor Centre.

Ed Kennedy, centre manager at The Grosvenor Centre, added: “The Grosvenor Centre are delighted that the council has delivered this transformational scheme and with the quality of the end product.

“It has helped Eskmuir, owners of the Grosvenor Centre, in letting the vacant former Cheshire Building Society unit on the corner with Churchill Way and demonstrates how public investment, in the right location, can stimulate growth – helping to create jobs and sustain a vibrant town centre.”

The commissioning of the Castle Street scheme followed Cheshire East Council’s approval of the Macclesfield town centre strategic regeneration framework.

A unique feature of the works is bespoke kerbstones, which incorporate extracts from the poem ‘A Love Letter To Macc’, compiled by Jacqui Wood, artistic director of community arts organisation Arc.

Macclesfield: What do you make of the improvements?

This evocative and personal piece was created as a project for our town’s Barnaby Festival in 2016 and compiled from words written by Macclesfield residents to celebrate everything they love about the town.

Macclesfield Town Council’s town centre and regeneration champion, councillor Fiona Wilson, said: “The improvements to Castle Street are vital for the revitalisation of our town centre and have already resulted in attracting new businesses to Castle Street.

“Independent retail, hospitality, entertainment and in-town living are all key components to help the town and the local economy.”

There are also big plans for the Treacle Market on Castle Street once more, for which we will reveal exclusively on Macclesfield Nub News next week.

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