Council responds to concerns about South Macclesfield scheme
21 February 2022
Cheshire East Council has responded to concerns raised about the scheme known as South Macclesfield Development Area.
South Macclesfield Development Area (SMDA) is allocated for housing and commercial uses in the Cheshire East Local Plan and was granted outline planning approval in 2019.
This development will provide nearly 1,000 new homes, shops, green spaces and a new link road which together would support the town’s growth.
The majority of the development land is under the ownership of a private developer and therefore outside the council’s control.
Much of the site is underlain by peat and it is recognised that members of the local community may have questions.
Councillor Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “It is now more than three years since this scheme was granted outline planning approval and it is currently the subject of a number of reserved matters, which will be determined at a later date.
“I am therefore aware that not everyone will know the site’s history and the makeup of the land, and that there is concern among local residents.
“I would reassure them of the work that has and is still being done by the council to bring forward the best possible outcome for this land, and our aim to greater explore how we can enhance carbon capture within the green spaces of this scheme.”
The SMDA is separated from Danes Moss Nature Reserve by a landfill site and as part of the proposed layout for the scheme, the majority of the development will be north of the planned link road, and extensive green space will be to the south of the road.
The SMDA was first earmarked for development in 1997 and evidence suggests that the peat on the land is not currently active or growing – this is likely to have been the case for at least 140 years.
While not the majority landowner of the site, the council previously agreed to take the lead role on the development’s infrastructure.
By doing this, the council is working to ensure that the method used to stabilise the ground will protect the carbon already stored in the peat and prevent, as far as possible, further leakage.
If the council did not proceed with this development on its land, the private sector would take the lead and the council would have much less control over the ultimate development of the land outside the Local Planning Authority powers.
Cllr Corcoran added: “The council remains committed to protecting and renewing peatland and the creation of new wetland areas across the borough, and we have an ambitious carbon neutral action plan, working together to combat climate change across the borough.
“But it is important to be clear that this is also a hugely complex site because of its long-standing planning history, ownership and uses.
“Furthermore, this is an allocated site within the council’s Local Plan and its development ensures a plan-led approach to the delivery of new housing in Macclesfield.
“The current applications, which have been subject to the normal processes of public consultation and engagement with statutory bodies, will be considered by the Local Planning Authority and presented to the council’s Strategic Planning Board in due course.”