ONE of the biggest talking points in Middlewich has been put on hold due to coronavirus.

Cheshire East Council has a bold vision to transform the Brooks Lane area – by the Trent and Mersey Canal – with a 20-berth marina, around 200 new homes and 7.7 hectares of employment land.

It also proposes a location for a Middlewich rail station and aims to preserve heritage sites, such as Murgatroyd's Brine Pump, in a masterplan that was first published in December 2018.

Residents have taken part in two consultations on the vision and the council had been set to approve the latest version, but Covid-19 means the wait will go on.

A CEC spokesman said: "The council continues to progress the Brooks Lane development framework, which was due to go before cabinet in July.

Winsford Guardian:

“However, due to the current pandemic and the temporary closure of libraries and council offices, the supplementary planning document – should it be approved – cannot be made available for public viewing in line with legal requirements.

“The document will, therefore, now go to a later cabinet meeting for approval and adoption, when the council is in a position to follow the statutory legal requirements for publicising the plan.”

The clock is ticking to get the masterplan approved.

Intertechnic has been waiting for two and a half years for an answer from CEC on whether it can go ahead with the second version of its own 12-berth marina plans with 137 homes, shops and cafes.

The council has always insisted its own masterplan must be approved first – the same reason the firm's first proposal was rejected in 2017.

It is a divisive subject, with residents' opinions split during the consultation, but Middlewich Town Council announced in January it would fight the proposals 'tooth and nail' – slamming CEC for 'shoehorning in more houses'.