8th December 2010 (update) - Cheadle Town Masterplan - Representations (Page 3 of 3)
New retailers should fit with and complement other businesses
Large corporate retailers that sell a wide range of products should be discouraged
Food and beverage retailers that are likely to promote clone Britain, and draw trade from traditional businesses in keeping with the traditional character of the town should be discouraged
Without clarification that the above are in place we unfortunately have to raise an objection to the proposal.
3) The Wheatsheaf Hotel as a care home (Pages 64,67,72,82 – Mainly Pages 123,138)
The town centre master plan is SMDC's chance to put Cheadle back on the map of towns to visit and there are a few elements within the current master plan which will help to a limited extent however without an attractive vibrant high street in the heart of the town and relevant industrial job development on the existing industrial estates this opportunity will be missed yet again.
A question for SMDC is how many other vibrant high streets in the surrounding counties have a care home actually in a high street premium location? The Wheatsheaf site has been allowed to stand empty for too long and requires redevelopment most people would agree, but this should be done as a retail offering that will attract people to the high street, it is an absolutely key location in Cheadle. Any foot fall attracted to a redeveloped retail property on the Wheatsheaf site would most likely benefit all retailers and business in Cheadle. There are good retailers out on other high street towns and surely any incentives used to bring back to life the high street with a focal point will have a realistic payback in addition to being an absolutely vital catalyst to revive our town with interest from other retailers and the public. It has been excellent to see the new bridal shop in Cheadle and we need more retailers like them, but adding a care home to the high street is only going to put off other new prospective retailers from coming to Cheadle rather than attract them which in turn will drive the required foot fall. If Cheadle is to survive it has to have an attractive range offerings that make people visit, stay in town and enjoy our shops, bars, historic buildings, restaurants and hotels.
The Masterplan highlights the re-use of the Wheatsheaf Hotel as a specialist extra care home for young people, while at the same time considers demolishing a residential care home on Lightwood road (within walking distance of the town, replacing it with houses) and also building a new Hotel on Well Street. As well as questioning the sense of using prime retail location properties in the town in this way, in promoting revitalising the town, we consider it worrying that the perception from hoteliers (page 123) is that they ‘do not consider it to be appropriate to create a viable business’ We have to ask if this perception would hold after any masterplan were complete and if so is it applicable to any other business use given it’s prime location in the town? If not then a better use may be appropriate. If an alternative retail use still isn’t viable after implementation of a Masterplan, then we are clearly concerned at the potential for the Masterplan to deliver and for a hotel on Well Street to be any more successful, given that the Wheatsheaf Hotel is as central a spot as there is for visitors.
Without Clarification on the rational for the above we have to raise an objection.
4) Employment Potential (Pages 16, 130)
We believe that the potential for 650 jobs is over optimistic (based we believe on density figures rather than real potential). We do believe that local residents of all ages could and would happily meet any employment needs in the new town plan.
With only the option to support or object to the Plan we have to raise an objection.
5) Roads, Traffic and Parking (Pages 110-114)
The proposed changes to the road network signs and traffic junctions appear to offer small flow improvements and improved visitor experience. They may have some minor improvement on general traffic throughput, but are clearly not sufficient to accommodate significant additional local housing provision. The promotion of southbound traffic (Page 112) along Cross Street might reduce High Street traffic, but it won’t help include the Pugin church and will promote traffic past the school and past residential properties on Chapel Street.
The ‘Transport plan for Cheadle (2000)’ was a commissioned study to look into handling increased traffic flow through the town. The proposed best case option for Cheadle - a west to south bypass option to divert traffic through the town, appears to have been abandoned. Cheadle Unites’ assumption is that if that is true, then in the absence of alternative road plans, it must also be true for significant local housing expansion in Cheadle. If this is the case we agree that the road traffic modifications are likely to be appropriate to accommodate increased visitor retention times within the town (increased retention is desirable as it alone doesn’t increase traffic). It does however raise concerns over adequate parking provision in handling longer stay visitors. Better Coach transport provision in the high street may help alleviate increased tourism traffic.
With roads around Cheadle at full capacity and with only minor road improvement proposals as well as the abandonment of the ‘Transport plan for Cheadle (2000), we have to object to the road traffic and parking provision detailed in the Cheadle Town Masterplan in the absence of clear details on any changes in housing levels expected upto 2026. If for example significant housing development is still proposed then these changes will be wholly inadequate.
Finally as always Cheadle Unite believe any development that disadvantages individuals or businesses must provide adequate compensation and alternative arrangements for those affected.