Town centre public realm works
Castle Street is now officially open following a £1.6m project to revitalise and transform Macclesfield town centre. The public realm scheme work began six months ago and has seen footways widened and resurfaced with natural stone, granite cobblestone-style paving installed in the road, trees, new street furniture and improved lighting.
The commissioning of the Castle Street scheme followed the council’s approval of the Macclesfield town centre strategic regeneration framework, which sets out its vision for the town centre as a place which celebrates its quirkiness and provides the development sector with the confidence and certainty needed to bring forward investment, jobs and economic growth.
A unique feature of the works will be the laying of bespoke kerbstones incorporating extracts from the poem ‘A Love Letter To Macc’. This evocative and personal piece of community writing was created as a project for the town’s Barnaby Festival in 2016. It was produced by Jacqui Wood, artistic director of community arts organisation Arc, and compiled from words written by Macclesfield residents to celebrate everything they love about the town.
The wording selected for inclusion reads:
A Love Letter to Macc:
Drawn to you I fell in love straight away
With the proud landscape and culture of a silk town.
You were soon in my heart with your creative edge, passionate people and cobbled Streets nestling in the hills.
Here we've flourished, and cried, and grown, and lost.
And throughout it all, there's been you, constant: stone, and hills, and rain,
And brilliant, unexpected sun.
Businesses on Castle Street can apply for a temporary alfresco licence to put furniture on pedestrian parts of the adopted highway using our quick and simple process. You can apply for the free licence on the Pavement cafes page.
We will return to site over the next few weeks to rectify any minor snagging issues as well as installing two new bins which have been delayed due to supply issues.
We would like to thank you to all the local businesses and stakeholders, the general public and the site team for their patience while we carried out this project, on time and within budget
How do public realm improvements help to regenerate the town centre
High quality public realm, particularly in urban centres, can both help to increase town centre footfall, can help to draw in new residents and can help to sway decisions on business locations and investment.
Macclesfield town centre, like others across the country, is facing challenges as so many people turn to online services and retailing and out-of-town shopping destinations. We recognise that town centres need to adapt to remain vital and viable and we are committed to the revitalisation of Macclesfield town centre in a way that captures its heritage, creativity and innovation.
The public realm enhancement scheme will transform a tired looking key town centre street, with the focus to be on the pedestrian, rather than the vehicle. In improving items such as narrowing the carriageway, widening the pavements and reducing street clutter, it naturally allows for the possibility of increasing alfresco activity and vibrancy to the area.
Our plans for the rest of Macclesfield town centre
The Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy and the Macclesfield Town Centre Strategic Regeneration Framework suggests that the council will look to maximise opportunities for improvement and regeneration in central Macclesfield including through improvements to the public realm.
In 2016, Cabinet approved capital funding for transformational public realm enhancements in the town centre and Castle Street was subsequently chosen as the area of focus.
As a result of this scheme, all market stalls have been relocated to Market Place in the historic centre of the town.
The council is now developing concept designs for potential further phases of public realm enhancements in the town centre and will pursue opportunities for funding to bring these forward.
Page last reviewed: 11 August 2021
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