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‘Closed doors’ finally opening for meetings

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15 APR

‘Closed doors’ finally opening for meetings

By timesecholife on in All News, Latest News

Meetings surrounding the future of a Moorlands town are finally going to be made public. Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) has formed a Stakeholder Panel to help support a Delivery Board which will be overseeing the development and delivery of a Cheadle Town Centre Project.

Meetings surrounding the future of a Moorlands town are finally going to be made public.

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) has formed a Stakeholder Panel to help support a Delivery Board which will be overseeing the development and delivery of a Cheadle Town Centre Project.

The first few meetings of the Stakeholder Panel were held behind closed doors, but now, after much concern raised by councillors and members of the public, the meetings are set to be made available online for the public to watch.

The next Stakeholder Panel meeting is scheduled to take place on May 10.

The news of the meeting finally being made public, was announced by Cheadle Town Mayor Ian Plant at last Tuesday (April 6) meeting of Cheadle Town Council.

Following much debate about the Cheadle Town Centre Project, the town council agreed to have an extraordinary meeting to discuss the Cushman & Wakefield report, which sets out a series of options surrounding the Cheadle Town Centre Project.

This has been scheduled to take place virtually on Monday, April 26.


During the latest Cheadle Town Council meeting, councillor Greg Powell read out questions regarding the Cheadle Town Centre Project, and they were answered by councillor Ian Plant, who is the chairman of the Stakeholder Panel

Here are those questions and answers:

1) The Cushman and Wakefield Report has not been discussed by CTC. It was my understanding that it was off the table at this time while the wants and needs of the Community are established through the Stakeholder Groups and sub-groups.

In what context was it discussed at the Stakeholder Workshop on the 17th March 2021?

The Stakeholder Workshop opened with a reminder of the context provided by the Cushman & Wakefield report, in particular that the report looked at a number of opportunity sites within Cheadle town centre and proposed a number of options for potential future uses. The sites in the report (with the exception of the Leek Road depot site that is allocated in the local Plan for new homes) were considered in turn, with Panel members holding a facilitated discussion around alternative options.

2) Why has refurbishment of the ‘Leisure Centre been Discounted’ In 7.19 of the Scrutiny Panel Agenda Document?

The Council’s Service Delivery Overview and Scrutiny Panel considered a report on Leisure Centre options at their meeting of 20th November 2019. The report provided details of FMG Consulting’s review of leisure centre provision in the District. The purpose of the review was to inform the Council on options for future provision of council leisure centres and other sports facility based services from 2018 and beyond. The 2019 committee report set out the conclusion of the FMG review which included that the Council should consider the following:

  • Replacement of South Moorlands Leisure Centre with smaller community pool and fitness offer, ideally co-located with other public sector services or alternative options if co-location with health is not deliverable

  • Refurbishment and essential works at Biddulph Valley Leisure Centre

  • Replacement pool at Brough Park Leisure Centre

  • Investment in 3G pitch provision at strategic sites

Paragraph 7.19 in the report on Cheadle town centre projects considered by the Service Delivery Overview and Scrutiny Panel on 17th March 2021 refers to this earlier 2019 report which clarifies that whilst refurbishment might be an option at one of the Council’s leisure centres, the option being considered for South Moorlands Leisure Centre is that of replacement. However further work is ongoing to help understand the needs of the community with respect to user and community requirements for leisure provision in Cheadle and the optimum location to provide a leisure centre.

3) What are the Timescales for the Stakeholder panel and their sub-groups feeding back from targeted groups on needs wants and aspirations of those groups?

A proposed timeline for the work of the Stakeholder Panel was set out at paragraph 7.26 of the report to Service Delivery Overview and Scrutiny Panel on 17th March 2021. It is proposed that in May / June, there will be an analysis of options, consultation responses and other public feedback to advise SMDC Cabinet on a way forward, including the recommendation of a preferred option.

4) How will the feedback from (3) feed into the questions that are going to be raised to the community during the consultation and over what timeframe?

The key next steps are set out in section 5 of the minutes of the Panel meeting held on 26th February. In addition, action 6 on page 4 of the minutes sets out that once appointed, consultants will be invited to consider how best to coordinate and capture all views coming forward, including via the work of the Panel sub-groups.

5) Are the Stakeholder panel going to review / critique the Cushman and Wakefield Report and is it going to be circulated to the community to the same ends to inform the process?

Following appointment of consultants, there will be public consultation on a range of options for Cheadle town centre, including options proposed by the Panel and those set out in the Cushman & Wakefield May 2020 report. In addition, a public survey is to be conducted.

6) When/how will the feedback from Stakeholders & sub-groups (3) and any review / critique of Cushman’s Report (5) be used to form alternative options.

The Stakeholder Panel held a workshop on Wednesday 17th March, facilitated by The Consultation Institute. Alternative options emerged from the workshop discussions and these have been provided to Cushman & Wakefield to produce design options to provide a visual of how each option might look, and to provide a high level cost estimate. This would provide each new option with the same level of appraisal that would have been undertaken at the time of Cushman & Wakefield’s original report.

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