Despite the best efforts of the Management Committee, club members and Jones Homes over the last few years, the planning application for the Club’s redevelopment proposals were refused by Cheshire East Council in January.
Many members attended the planning committee to show their support, and Sir Nick Winterton gave a compelling speech emphasising the value of the club as a community asset. Nevertheless, this was not deemed sufficiently persuasive.
Jones Homes have already committed significant sums and resource in the development and promotion of the project to date. Following the decision of the planning committee they have taken the advice of Emery Planning and a leading barrister in this area on the alternative ways forward.
The options available to the Club following this refusal are:
- Do nothing
- Lodge a planning appeal to the Planning Inspectorate in the hope they will overturn the decision
- Promote the site’s redevelopment proposals through Part 2 of the Local Plan.
We are pleased to tell you that Jones Homes are still able and willing to support the club in their redevelopment project; the advice they have received from Emery Planning and counsel is that the greatest chance of success is through the promotion of the site in Part 2 of the Local Plan. They will continue to fund planning advice and supporting reports from specialists to ensure the club’s redevelopment proposals can be best positioned at the Part 2 Local Plan Inquiry.
The Club is, however, is under real financial strain and were relying on a successful planning decision in January of this year to alleviate this. We have been advised the likely timeframe for the site to be allocated in the Local Plan (if successful), is winter 2020. A planning application and construction of the club’s new facilities following that it would allow the club could move into new facilities in September 2022. Therefore, we are focusing our efforts in raising funds to keep the club going for the next four years whilst this process takes place.
Jones Homes and their Public Relations and Marketing Consultants are meeting with the Management Committee at the club to help inform this vital activity. As part of this, we urgently need members to volunteer to be members of a fundraising committee that will assist in identifying and implementing money-raising projects over the next few years.
Despite the decision of the officials and councillors at Cheshire East Council, we intend to make every effort to retain a successful Rugby Club in Macclesfield Town. The Councillors’ opinion that if the club closes people would just have to go elsewhere shows a breathtaking lack of understanding and empathy for the community they serve and shows an astonishing undervaluing of this community asset.
Please continue to support your club – we will be updating you in due course regarding the projects we believe are most important to ensure the club continues to operate and provide facilities of a standard you would expect and how we can raise funds to do that