IT is one of the most eagerly anticipated developments for some in Middlewich – and a big source of regret for others.

But the wheels are firmly in motion for redevelopment of the land behind Jack’s supermarket, off Wheelock Street.

The site has long been regarded as an eyesore and has been a magnet for anti-social behaviour ever since Tesco’s plans to expand fell through back in 2009.

Now, the developers behind the scheme are waiting for the green light from Cheshire East Council to start building on the site.

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Permission was granted last year for McCarthy and Stone’s plans to build 50 retirement flats and three shops, along with plans from Henderson Homes for 34 houses.

Groundworks have since taken place to prepare the site, and now the two firms have submitted a ‘discharge of conditions’ application to CEC.

It tells the council how the developers are working to the rules imposed when planning permission was given, and effectively asks CEC for the final go-ahead to start laying bricks.

Many residents have been desperate for something to happen to the site for years.

In 2017, youngsters at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School wrote to then-landowner Tesco, calling for a ‘beautiful piece of community land that inspires, enhances and engages the community’.

Winsford Guardian:

At the first CEC planning meeting where the plans were considered, neighbouring resident Gillian Ikin urged the committee to approve them to end anti-social behaviour on the site.

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.”

But Middlewich councillors past and present were keen to see more ambitious plans for the town centre site.

Former Middlewich First councillor Mike Parsons told the committee last March: “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.

Winsford Guardian:

How the housing scheme could look

“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.”

And after the project was delayed over legal agreements last July, Labour Cllr Mike Hunter insisted it was a ‘great shame’ the plans were approved as they were – but that work needed to begin to get rid of the grot spot ‘for the sake of the residents that live in and around that area’.

CEC’s response to the latest application is due by March 25.