Council land sale to make way for major regeneration scheme

Frank Jordan

Proposals for a major regeneration scheme, which would include creating a multi-level, mixed-use development incorporating retail and leisure in Congleton town centre, have been put forward.

Cheshire East Council is to dispose of land in the town centre to make way for the scheme which would revive a dormant plan to redevelop sites in Mill Street and Princess Street, around the market square area of the town.

The council’s cabinet has agreed that if the regeneration package proposed by Scarborough Development Group is to progress, then a fresh planning application would be required.

Under the proposal, the council would surrender the leasehold on the Princess Street car park, the freehold of which is already owned by Scarborough, and sell the freehold of the market square to achieve the “long-term objectives set out several years ago” for the redevelopment of the town centre.

The original scheme was anchored by a proposal for a new food store but that would now be replaced by retail and leisure.

The charter market – granted in 1272 – would be retained and continue to operate throughout the redevelopment.  A new market provision is to be completed as part of the conditions required by the council.

Cllr Don Stockton, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Coupled with other regenerative activity, including the proposed redevelopment of the leisure centre, new housing schemes and a £1.1m public realm project, all this will contribute to a more vibrant Congleton and demonstrates the council’s commitment to improving the town for the benefit of residents and visitors.

“The council has long held aspirations to regenerate this part of Congleton town centre and the fresh proposals brought forward by Scarborough present a real opportunity to fulfil those ambitions.”
Cheshire East Council’s executive director of place, Frank Jordan, said: “Prevailing market conditions in the retail sector are challenging but the professional team working on this scheme are confident these proposals represent the best opportunity for significant investment and regeneration in the current economic cycle.

“Discussions are taking place with Congleton Town Council and other stakeholders and a full consultation and engagement exercise will be put in place throughout the planning process.

“It is expected that this proposed high-quality, mixed-use development will attract new retailers and brands, leading to an increase in footfall and a transformation of this part of Congleton.”