Site LPS 14: Land East of Fence Avenue, Macclesfield
The development of Land East of Fence Avenue over the Local Plan Strategy period will be achieved through:
- The delivery of around 250 new homes, including the sensitive conversion of the main school building to apartments; development will focus on the school curtilage (which includes the sports fields);
- Incorporation of green infrastructure throughout the site, to include an appropriate level of open space provision; an area adjacent to the canal shall be retained as open space encompassing land either side of the Smyth’s Bridge; this will retain some of the naturalised setting, including the belt of tree planting to the west of the bridge (in order to minimise impact on the conservation area and landscape designation area);
- Improvement of existing and provision of new pedestrian and cycle links to existing residential areas, shops, schools and health facilities; in particular, improvements to the canal towpath;
- On site provision, or where appropriate, relevant contributions towards highways and transport, education, health, open space and community facilities; and
- Attention to the quality of landscaping and the design of the new built development, including a sensitive approach to density, massing and height.
Site Specific Principles of Development
- Public realm provision must play a critical part of any proposals, reflecting the green credentials of the site. These spaces will need to be safe and secure and appropriately managed.
- Proposals should retain the main school building which faces onto Fence Avenue.
- Green infrastructure provision should be prioritised throughout the site. It must connect with the town centre by providing links to the bottom of Hurdsfield Road and Fence Avenue to link to Victoria Park and also to the eastern edge of the site which provides connectivity with the wider Green Belt and open countryside. Existing trees and hedgerows should be retained where possible as these make a valuable contribution to the character of the area, and its relationship with surrounding land uses. The scale and design of new development therefore needs to reflect the urban fringe character at the edges of the site and green infrastructure also needs to permeate from the edges into the main body of the site.
- The Macclesfield Canal, which frames the southern portion of the site, provides an excellent opportunity for improved permeability and connectivity with any proposed development and also for enhancement of the public right of way. The development provides the opportunity to enhance the usability of the canal and connectivity of the site to it through connection to the towpath via Smyth’s Bridge, bringing it back into positive use.
- The Local Plan Strategy site is expected to provide affordable housing in line with the policy requirements set out in Policy SC 5 'Affordable Homes;.
- Transport improvements as determined through any future transport study.
- Retention (or replacement) and enhancement of playing fields and sporting facilities are required as part of the development. The retention and/or replacement of the indoor and outdoor sports facilities should be in accordance with the findings of an adopted, up to date and robust needs assessment.
- The setting of the Church of the Holy Trinity should be protected by excluding the elevated land directly opposite the church from development (i.e. retaining it as open green space/pasture) and maintaining the quality and density of landscaping on the eastern edge of the site, including retention of existing tree belts and hedges. The identifiable tree line along the eastern edge of the site should be strengthened by additional planting to form a strong Green Belt boundary.
- Any application would need to be supported by a full ecological appraisal, including a detailed botanical survey of the grassland habitats on site. Mitigation would be required to address any impacts on protected species. Any woodland, priority habitats or habitats of local wildlife site quality on the site should be retained.
- A minimum of a Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment for contaminated land should be carried out to demonstrate that the site is, or could be made, suitable for use should it be found to be contaminated. Further work, including a site investigation, may be required at a pre-planning stage, depending on the nature of the site.
15.209 Located to the north of Buxton Road and within 500m of Macclesfield town centre, this site presents itself as a very sustainable location as it is within easy walking distance of local amenities (shops / library) and public transport provision (bus stops, train station).
15.210 The site is one of two sites currently occupied by The King's School who are seeking to consolidate existing operations into one site. The council intends to identify a new site for The King's School through its Site Allocations Development Plan Document. This has the benefits of releasing central, sustainably-located sites for development and will enable improved school and sporting facilities to be developed.
15.211 The Fence Avenue site includes a main school building and a series of ancillary buildings to the east. The main school building dates back to 1909 and although not listed it is considered to be of architectural merit and offers an important contribution to the character of the Buxton Road Conservation Area, within which it is located. A sympathetic conversion of the existing building is therefore required.
15.212 The remainder of the site consists of playing fields, farmland and a wooded valley and is framed by the Macclesfield Canal. The main school building and western boundary of the site is located within the Buxton Road Conservation Area and the eastern boundary runs parallel to the Macclesfield Canal Conservation area.
15.213 The site sits adjacent to the Cheshire Green Belt to the east and it lies within an area identified as the “Peak Park Fringe” within the Cheshire East: Local Landscape Designation Study (2013). Any new development on this site must respect the landscape character of this particular area, the openness of the adjacent Green Belt and have regard to Policy SE 15 'Green Infrastructure', and landscape will therefore be important to ensuring the proposed development integrates well into the character of this particular area.
15.214 The close proximity of the Macclesfield Canal is an ideal opportunity to expand on the connectivity of this site particularly to areas of existing open space. Therefore improvements to the Canal towpath should be sought.
15.215 Any replacement and/or new sports provision should be in accordance with an adopted up to date and robust Playing Pitch Strategy and Indoor Sports Strategy and with Policy SC 2 ‘Indoor and Outdoor Sports Facilities’.
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