COUNCILLORS have given the go-ahead for expansion at MA6NITUDE that will help pay for road improvements in Middlewich.

Cheshire East Council’s strategic planning board unanimously gave the green light for eight new units to be built at the industrial site, formerly known as Midpoint 18.

Total Developments will contribute £687,540 towards the Middlewich Eastern Bypass or other road improvements in town as part of the scheme.

Cllr Bernice Walmsley, CEC member for Middlewich, welcomed the proposal – but suggested it could lead to increased traffic congestion and poorer air quality in the town.

She said: “I don’t want to object to this application. It’s in the right place, it’s in the local plan and it will bring jobs to Middlewich. Unfortunately it will also bring traffic.

“I’m happy to see the Section 106 contributions to the Middlewich Eastern Bypass and I am also happy to hear there might be some flexibility on that.

“The extra traffic from this proposed development will only make the need for the bypass more urgent.”

The Middlewich First member added that lorries travelling to Winsford would also contribute to congestion in town and would not use the bypass.

Paul Hurdus, highways development manager at CEC, confirmed that the main mitigation for the scheme’s impact on roads would be the bypass contribution.

However, he added that the funds could be used on other projects in Middlewich – such as improving the Town Bridge junction, the A54 corridor and pedestrian routes in King Street, Leadsmithy Street and Croxton Lane.

This is due to a rule meaning the bypass can only benefit from a total of five developer contributions – and if another five, larger contributions come forward to fund the scheme, the £687,540 would be spent on other improvements in town.

He added: “It’s the extra [improvements] that we could fund if we can’t use the money on the Middlewich Eastern Bypass, but the priority is most certainly the bypass.”

The development will be completed in two phases – with full planning consent still required on the second phase.

Two new units, with a total floorspace of 9.3sq m, will be built in the first phase – along with a new site access off Pochin Way – while a further six units will be built in the second phase.

Cllr Jamie Macrae questioned if the proposed 338 parking spaces would be sufficient, but officers said they were satisfied with the plans.

Supporting the scheme, Cllr Derek Hough, Liberal Democract member for Alsager, said: “It is in the local plan and we have now heard that, come what may, the bypass is going to be funded.

“I think it is a valuable site, it is an employment site, and so I find it very difficult to oppose.”

  • For clarity, the Guardian would like to confirm that Cllr Walmsley spoke as Middlewich's ward councillor, and did not vote on the application