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People in Crewe die 13 years before those in more affluent parts of Cheshire East so the town deserves investment following years of neglect, a councillor said.

Cllr Suzanne Brookfield (Crewe East, Lab) was speaking following an update report on the town centre regeneration programmes at a meeting of the economy and growth committee.

Crewe has received a total of £37 million in government funding through two separate schemes – the Future High Streets Fund and Towns Fund.

Cheshire East has been unsuccessful so far in various funding applications it has made to government and other external public sources for Macclesfield.

Cllr Brookfield said: “I know quite a few people around this table feel everything’s about Crewe, but I think we need to bear in mind that Crewe is the borough’s principal town.

“Yes, Crewe gets a lot of attention but it’s been neglected for so long.

“We have the most fly-tipping in Crewe, we have the most air pollution, we even die earlier in Crewe – that is how deprivation is, we die 13 years earlier in Crewe than the rest of the borough.

“I know people think we focus on Crewe a lot but I think the need is there.”

Her comments came after some councillors had asked what was being done in other parts of the borough.

Cllr Andrew Gregory (Sutton, Con) said: “This is an exciting report if you live in and about Crewe but I’m afraid, if you live in and about Macclesfield, you feel a bit like the poor relation.

“Are we doing enough to get private enterprise behind Macclesfield?

“We’ve seen it with the modest development on Market Place as a result of the pandemic but there’s so little going on in my view.

“Is there any more we can do to try and get behind Macc?”

Peter Skates, the council’s director of growth and enterprise, said: “There are a number of investors already within Macclesfield that have had the confidence in the town and it’s about building on that, so Picturedrome, but also the recent development on Craven House on Castle Street, and our newly designed public realm on Castle Street just supplements that.

“It’s about growing, it’s adding, it’s building confidence and Macclesfield has got a really good reputation of that sort of quirky, different type of town, so it’s how do we build on that?”

Earlier in the meeting Mr Skates had told the committee the council would be applying again for funding for Macclesfield.

“Success in any application for funds can be dependent on strict criteria required by government to demonstrate critical need for interventions, and aspects such as deprivation can be a key factor,” he had told the committee.

“Although Macclesfield was unsuccessful for levelling up funding, we are continuing to prepare for the next round of applications anticipated in the new year.”

(Story by Belinda Ryan)

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