TOWN councillors have said they will fight ‘tooth and nail’ against a masterplan for the proposed Brooks Lane marina.

Cheshire East Council is creating its own vision for the site, while a separate two-year-old planning application from Intertechnic is still awaiting a decision.

The masterplan has been amended in light of a public consultation 12 months ago, but still does not satisfy Middlewich Town Council members.

As it stands, the document includes a mixed-use residential and industrial development, with provision for road alterations, a 20-berth marina, land for a train station and around 200 homes – plus the potential for more in future redevelopment of the wider site.

DECEMBER 2019 >>> Marina masterplan to go to second consultation

But councillors expressed doubts about how realistic some aspects of the plan may prove to be.

Cllr Carol Bulman said: “We don’t really believe that they will get around to [the marina] anyway. This is a way of shoehorning in more houses.

“It’s a sweetener that makes way for more houses.”

Winsford Guardian:

Cllr Graham Orme added: “Bringing a station back to Middlewich is a positive thing but the way we are going to do it is a negative. It’s a carrot that has been dangled.”

Cllr Mike Hunter chairs the strategic planning board, and raised concerns over transport, heritage, design and the marina itself.

He said: “They have skirted over walking and cycle routes. It’s a mixed use of industrial and residential so it needs to keep cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles separate.

OCTOBER 2019 >>> Brooks Lane marina plans back on the agenda after two-year wait

“They are asking for signals on Brooks Lane bridge which I think they want to make two-way. We would not agree to that because you wouldn’t then be able to have a pavement as well.

“A 20-bay marina is not profitable. I had asked for 40-plus bays.”

Cllr Helen Watkinson added that even 40 bays would be a reduction on the current capacity, adding that replacing relics of Middlewich’s salt producing past with housing was unacceptable.

She said: “The two things Middlewich has got going for it is the canal system and our heritage.

Winsford Guardian:

“We are losing heritage of our industrial past – it will all be demolished. Meanwhile, the things we have got plenty of, such as housing, [the masterplan] encourages.”

The council document says 200 houses would help satisfy the Local Plan allocation for the site, but Cllr Orme said this would not be acceptable without first securing the infrastructure.

“If you don’t have a proper transport plan you should not get off the ground,” he said.

JUNE 2017 >>> Marina plans set for refusal

“GPs are full to capacity and there are going to be issues with schooling as more people move in. Traffic is bad enough anyway, particularly around the schools, and that will lead to air quality issues.”

Meanwhile, any development would mean a number of Brooks Lane businesses being forced to leave their current premises.

“I have been approached by businesses on Brooks Lane asking, ‘where will we go?’,” said Cllr David Latham.

“There is no relocation or new small units. We want to induce more small businesses – they bring people in and encourage growth.”

Cllr Jonathan Parry added: “There are a lot of problems.

“If they put [housing] in there, they will build more behind it, and more behind that, and it will continue. It’s the tip of the iceberg.

“I will be fighting this tooth and nail for Middlewich.”

n yourviews@guardiangrp.co.uk