Arighi Bianchi lined up for Lyme Green

CHESHIRE East Council has struck a deal with Macclesfield furniture retailer Arighi Bianchi to use the Lyme Green site as a distribution centre.

Lyme Green, near Macclesfield, was originally earmarked for a waste transfer facility but this plan was later scrapped.

An internal report found the council approved funding without proper authority, started construction without planning permission, and failed to follow EU procurement rules.

Yesterday the council published its own summary of a second report, carried out by public sector lawyer Malcolm Illey, which blamed confused project management and a lack of due diligence from council officers.

The council has resisted pressure from campaigners to publish the original report on legal grounds, and said a redacted version would not be intelligible or helpful.

The summary revises down the £800,000 associated with the waste transfer facility debacle to £700,000 and says much of this was spent on remedial work such as drainage and foundations, which will be used by future developments. It estimates a net cost of £100,000.

The council is now treading very carefully with future use of the site. In a statement regarding the Arighi Bianchi deal it said: “We will, of course, consult fully with members of the public as well as Sutton Parish Council to ensure that any development is suitable for the locality.”

Arighi Bianchi director Nick Bianchi said: “Our current distribution system is spread across three sites within the town and this situation has been far from ideal and uneconomical. We have been searching a for a single site location within Macclesfield for many years.

“With the recent approval of the new town centre redevelopment scheme, our main distribution site is set to become the new multi-storey car park and therefore the need to relocate is imminent. The fact that this site is on our doorstep is a great relief to us as, prior to its availability, we were faced with the prospect of having to locate our distribution centre out of Macclesfield, which would not have been acceptable.”