8th December 2010 (update) - Cheadle Town Masterplan - Representations (Page 2 of 3)
Moving forward, there is much to like in the Cheadle Town Masterplan in particular:
Maximising the views towards the Pugin Church
Improvements to Penny Lane Mall and to the unpleasant structures on the west of Tape Street.
Retention of the indoor market building and market place area are very important areas that must be retained (in whatever role) as an appropriate historic link for the town.
A local heritage centre
Promotion of cycle and walkways
Planting of trees and appropriate walkways
Better flow through the town for shoppers and visitors
A better centre for the town
Moves to maintain sustainability and promote energy efficiency
Hotel (Page 46)
We believe that a modest hotel in town can provide a positive boost for the town, businesses and residents and for Alton Towers and JCB. With summer visitors clearly visiting Cheadle and even winter visitors that might like access to local walks, coffee shops and restaurants and the Pugin church but also a winter experience visit to Alton Towers gardens and walks (for example older visitors who wish to avoid the more family focused hotel on site at Alton Towers, could visit Alton Towers as part of a winter vacation package).
The 'in objection to' Representations are as follows:
Cheadle Unite - Background This is restated as per the 'in support of' but then goes on to detail objections as follows:
1) The Cheadle Town Masterplan (Page 10 & Page 31)
In the proposed Cheadle Town Masterplan, Page 10 defines the outline brief for the development of Cheadle town and highlights an LDF target expansion of 25% (also detailed on page 31). As has been stated, significant numbers of representations have been made to SMDC regarding expansion of the town (Cheadle Unites representation: Ref No 600 has our comments on the matter). As part of the Governments ‘Big Society’, residents expect those views to have been taken on board. We realise that time moves on and changes cannot always be reflected in already commissioned consultation documents (another example relates to references to Advantage West Midlands (AWM) who 6 months ago in June 2010 the government announced would not to exist by 2012). We believe the representation here therefore relates to the general aims of the Town Centre Masterplan. They are not an acceptance of the 25% increase in housing mentioned (attributed by the dominantly Conservative SMDC to targets set by the previous Labour Government) , and most importantly will not be acceptable to residents if SMDC attempt to claim that acceptance of the Masterplan is in any way an acceptance of a 25% swell in the population by 2026.
Hence for clarity: The question ‘Would we accept a 25% increase in housing in order to improve the town?’ is clearly not a question being asked here and therefore a stance along the lines that ‘Acceptance of the Town Masterplan allows us to increase housing by 25%’ is clearly not an argument that the community will accept especially given the aforementioned history between SMDC and residents and the representations that have been made.
Therefore, unfortunately without written clarification in the Town Masterplan as to the new expectations for housing expansion in the town and given the format of the representation form, we have to raise an objection.
2) Business and Retail (Pages 10, 30, 37)
The Masterplan highlights the importance of the identity of the town and states the high number of independent traders will enable it to avoid becoming part of ‘clone town Britain’ (Page 10). We believe that this current view alone is inadequate to protect the identity of the town.
We feel that In order to capitalise on the town’s strengths and realise its potential as a visitor attraction and local escape (with retail and business benefits as a consequence of that experience, rather than the other way around) and therefore to further strengthen the avoidance of a ‘clone town’, that retail space allocation (both in terms of floor space and to whom) need careful consideration. Businesses for example should be appropriate to the town image and work alongside and complement existing businesses and not draw from, undercut or damage the visitor appeal that has already been started in the town. Local entrepreneurial businesses have already latched onto an identity for the town with desirable eating and shopping experiences (to visitors and locals) held back only by the current economic environment. The inappropriate allocation of space to a sizeable and or disproportionate retailer (for example a fast food chain) centred in the town would be damaging. It’s important to convey that increased competitive shopping choice of the same items does little to increase the affluence of the town and local businesses. Morrisons, Iceland, B&M, Netto & Co-Op already provide competitive pricing for local resident essential items.
A wider range of products and services will add value to the town both for visitors and local residents. Examples would include florists, clothes, footwear, outdoor pursuits, local and organic produce, musical & instruments, wedding, Audio and Hi fi, antiquities etc (some are already in place). Careful constraints can help make this happen. We would therefore recommend
Retail floor space restrictions should be carefully considered for any business especially at the planning and build stage