Cheshire East Council is set to unveil proposals for an exciting redevelopment incorporating new homes, a marina and railway station – and it wants the public’s views on the plans.
Residents, businesses and stakeholders in Middlewich are to be asked to comment on the proposed Brooks Lane development framework – a 23-hectare site where 200 new homes could be built, together with a marina on the Trent and Mersey Canal, which runs through the town.
The draft framework also includes an impression of how a new railway station for Middlewich could enhance the whole scheme. This envisages the re-opening of the Sandbach-Middlewich-Northwich line for passenger services, something many local people have called for to coincide with the arrival of HS2 at Crewe.
And a plan to set the old brine works within an accessible public space is also included within the framework. The Murgatroyd’s Brine Works is a scheduled ancient monument containing a late 19th Century ‘wild’ brine pumping plant with an original brine shaft, pump house, gantry, power house and other rare features.
The council first engaged businesses, landowners and residents on the site – together with the informal views of town council members – and those views have helped planners to shape the draft Brooks Lane development framework.
The Brooks Lane site is allocated as a ‘strategic location’ in the Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy and is one of a number of sites earmarked for new homes and employment, alongside a proposed Middlewich Eastern Bypass, currently subject to planning approval.
A six-week public consultation will be launched from Monday (14 January), closing at 5pm on 25 February. The draft development framework will be available for public viewing and two drop-in events will be held at Middlewich Community Church, Brooks Lane, on:
Wednesday 23 January (5pm–8pm); and
Monday 28 January (5pm–8pm).
Council staff will be on hand at each event to explain the proposals and answer any questions.
Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, said: “I would encourage everyone to engage with this consultation to help shape the final planning guidance for this important site.
“The Trent and Mersey Canal is an important, historic and environmental asset in the town and we would like to see it enhanced through new investment. Canals and waterways have been the catalyst for positive change in so many towns and we would like Middlewich to similarly benefit in this way.
“As part of the local enterprise partnership, Cheshire East Council is also developing an outline business case for the transport minister to bring back rail passenger service to the town. The draft development framework supports that ambition by showing how a station could potentially be provided.”
Green open spaces, pedestrian and cycle ways also feature in the proposed scheme and a key element of the plan is the offer of waterside living, which has become so popular in many towns and cities across the country.
Following the consultation and consideration of the feedback, the council intends to adopt the development framework as ‘supplementary planning guidance’ and, as such, it would be obliged to consider the guidance in making decisions on relevant planning applications affecting the site.
The draft development framework will be available to view at the council’s Sandbach head office and at Middlewich Library. It can also be viewed via the council’s website from Monday at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/localplan
Further information can also be obtained by contacting the council’s spatial planning team on 01270 685893.