The million pound question

29 Feb 2024 10:08
Published by: Scott Callan

PEOPLE in Macclesfield have been asked for their views on town council plans to borrow £1.25million to fund a new South Park pavilion.

The plans would see a 24.5 per cent hike in the 2024 town council precept – adding £12.50 to the Council Tax bill for a band D property.

The council is looking for a 40-year Public Works Loan to fund the development. The annual loan repayments will come to around £101,700 – falling by £411.27 every six months.

It says that under the funding plan £5.21 of the proposed precept rise will go towards the repayments.

The development has planning permission and the project team is looking to start work on the site in the summer.

The intention, once the pavilion is up and running, is that the repayments will be paid through contributions from the income it generates.

Council reserves of £548,472 will also be used to fund the building work. Councillors need the approval of Michael Gove, the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, to apply for the loan.

People had until February 23 to give their views on the loan proposals in a public consultation and the feedback from that exercise is now awaited.

Town councillor and deputy mayor Sandy Livingstone, who chairs the South Park Pavilion working group, said: “South Park is one of the great assets of Macclesfield.

“It is clear from the extensive consultation, and the mandate local town councillors were elected on last year that our residents want us to build a new pavilion in the park.

“A pavilion that will, like the public toilets in our indoor market, will continue the town council’s much needed investment in our town, and provide a gathering place for a coffee and a chat, as events space for local bands, arts and culture, life events and celebrations, and much needed accessible toilets.” 

He added: “Economic conditions and continued rising costs have caused large increases in construction expenses.

“Despite this we have taken our time to ensure we can still deliver the building and successfully operate it. The public work loan will allow us to build the new pavilion for our residents and for the new visitors who will come and return.”

The council says the pavilion needs to be replaced because there is a lack of accessibility to the first floor, limited toilet facilities and it is in a poor state of repair.

Cllr Livingstone said: “Our professional team, led by local architects Bower and Mattin, have designed an exciting high quality energy saving building that we still be in use at the end of century.

“The two-storey design reflects the choices of our residents in the consultation of August 2022, where there was a choice of five designs.”

South Park is the largest park in Macclesfield. It celebrated its centenary in 2022 after it was gifted to the people of the town by local alderman William Frost.

In a statement announcing the consultation, the council said: “The park is a true asset for our town, and one that we have an opportunity to improve for our residents, our community and to attract visitors from near and far.

“Local residents have campaigned for a pavilion building in South Park for the past 20 years.” The plan is to build a two-storey, environmentally sensitive pavilion designed to provide a wide range of flexible spaces suitable for family gatherings, fitness, dance and regular cultural events.

The ground floor will consist of a large café area with ‘chill out’ spaces housing local art exhibits and magazines. It will lead to a canopied outdoor terrace with seating overlooking the bandstand.

There will also be two large multi-purpose rooms which can provide a space for people to gather. The first floor will overlook the park and tennis courts.

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