DEVELOPERS will wait another month before getting an answer on if they can transform a derelict part of Middlewich.

Cheshire East Council’s southern planning committee debated the proposals to redevelop land off Wheelock Street – behind Jack’s supermarket – for two hours on Wednesday before agreeing to postpone the crucial vote.

McCarthy and Stone wants to build 50 retirement apartments and three retail units on the site – while Henderson Homes wants to build four one-bedroom flats, 14 two-bedroom houses and 17 three-bedroom homes.

But councillors have asked the developers and CEC officers to come back next month with more information on a raft of sticking points – including fire safety, parking concerns and whether affordable housing can be provided on the site.

Eighty-year-old resident Gillian Ikin, who has lived near-by since she was 11 years old, urged members to give the go-ahead for redevelopment on a site which has been plagued by anti-social behaviour.

She said: “We have had drug addicts, homeless people, squatters, rats, and it’s just a shocking place to live – and it was a lovely area to live in.

“I was so pleased about these plans because they look excellent to me – and it can’t get any worse than it is now. Everyone in Middlewich is saying it is just an eyesore.

“We’ve got people coming in from Winsford now. They come down for the day – I think they think it’s a Butlin’s for anti-social behaviour – and they stay there to cause all kinds of trouble.”

James Berggren, acting on behalf of the two developers, added: “This is detrimental to those people that live nearby.

“I am sure you will agree the site is in dire need of the redevelopment that my client is proposing.”

Tesco – the owners of Jack’s, which replaced Middlewich’s Tesco-branded supermarket last year – wanted to use the land to expand its store back in 2009.

It gained planning permission but shelved the proposal – and the retailer has now agreed to sell the land on provided planning permission is secured.

CEC officers had recommended the scheme for approval, but Middlewich Town Council had objected to the scheme.

Cllr Mike Parsons, Middlewich First member on CEC, warned the committee that the current proposal is not good enough as a town centre regeneration scheme.

He said: “This is not a case of nimbyism – this is the last bit of land in a town that already has no public space, no public realm and the shops are dying on their feet.

“We need a magnet to bring business to the town. If this land is lost to a development like this then Middlewich will become a ghost town.”

Cllr Bernice Walmsley, Middlewich First, added that the scheme does not take into account the desires for community facilities and open space on the derelict site that have been put forward in the town’s neighbourhood plan – which goes to referendum next week.

Members agreed that the site needed redevelopment during the debate but raised concerns over the current scheme – particularly over the lack of affordable housing and the size of the homes.

Cllr Sarah Pochin, Conservative, said: “We are asked to allocate 30 per cent affordable housing. We often don’t, we hear that there is no profit. I think that sometimes we roll over a bit too easy on that point.”

Cllr Jill Rhodes, Labour, added: “Just because you live in an urban area does not mean you don’t want a nice garden and a reasonably-sized house.”

Concerns were also raised about the provision of lifts for the retirement flats, fire safety, bin collection arrangements and parking spaces.

Councillors unanimously voted to defer the item for further information, and it is expected to go before the southern planning committee again on April 3.