The need to keep a strong focus on revitalising Macclesfield town centre is clear, as a result of the economic impact of coronavirus.
Market Place is iconic. It has been for centuries and today it is home to surrounding shops and cafes and our monthly Treacle Market. Its cobblestones, heritage and stunning views make a truly unique space at the centre of the town. We now need to find creative ways to breathe new life into it.
In prime position is Macclesfield Town Hall. Even before the pandemic, it was infrequently used for community events and too few visitors were able to benefit from access to its historic rooms and facilities. Public health regulations have meant that even fewer people have been able to be there during the pandemic.
Now is the time to really open its doors to the community: to make it a Town Hall for all. The newly formed Town Hall Network, which has members from local community groups, including Make It Macclesfield and Macctastic Eco Network, is rightly calling for the Town Hall, Butter Market and Old Police Station to be made available to offer activities during the day and evening entertainment. This would provide much-needed performance space in the town centre and create an active hub for the community.
The Arts Council has recently highlighted the importance of arts and culture in regenerating town centres. Other communities demonstrate how civic buildings have been purposefully used for arts and cultural events, such as The Met in Bury, and for wide-ranging active community use, as in Poynton, nearby.
We need to quickly learn lessons from these examples and move forward at pace to find the best solutions for Macclesfield’s residents to make the Town Hall the beating heart of the community, as it should be.