Macclesfield MP, David Rutley, has joined calls to accelerate regeneration work in Macclesfield town centre following high-street retailer M&S’s plans to relocate its offering to the town’s outskirts.
Marks and Spencer, which closed nearby stores in Stockport and Buxton prior to the pandemic, revealed earlier this month that it planned to close the town centre store during Winter 2022/23 as part of a wider shake-up of its high street retail strategy. The store, a key draw for shoppers coming to Macclesfield, will be replaced by an out-of-town M&S Food outlet at the Barracks Mill retail park, which attracted opposition throughout its planning process for its potential to adversely affect the high street.
In response to the news, Macclesfield MP, David Rutley has called on Cheshire East Council to accelerate its plans for regeneration projects in the town centre, in order to limit the impact of losing this key retailer on high street footfall, particularly amid changing shopping habits and the effects of the pandemic. In a statement on his website, David Rutley MP said:
The pandemic’s impact highlighted the need to support local retail and hospitality businesses and M&S’s decision now underscores the need to take urgent action to revitalise Macclesfield town centre.
“I would urge Cheshire East Council to accelerate the development of its regeneration projects for Macclesfield, so that the £5 million allocated for this task can be drawn upon and utilised as soon as possible. This will help offset the impact of this latest news and help make Macclesfield more responsive to the latest consumer trends.
“We need to build on the work of the Macclesfield Town Centre Recovery Working Group and address these challenges with greater pace. I will go on working with Cheshire East Council, local stakeholders and businesses in this vital task.”
In March 2021, Cheshire East Council endorsed the Macclesfield Town Centre Recovery Plan to help the town rebuild after the Covid-19 pandemic. The plan was compiled by Macclesfield Town Council and local stakeholders and set out objectives for the town centre to realise its full potential.
A number of council backed public realm improvements are also underway in Macclesfield town centre, including at Castle Street and the recently completed ‘pocket park‘ at the town’s bus station. A consultation into concept designs for further town centre improvement works launched in August and closes on 1st October at 5pm.