‘Long, drawn out campaign’ to stop ASDA supermarket plans for Marple site finally won by residents

By Matt Simpson

The battle to stop an ASDA supermarket being built on the outskirts of Marple was finally won on Friday – to the delight of the town’s residents.

ASDA were trying to buy the land near Hibbert Lane, before their application received a final rejection at a Planning and Highways Committee meeting.

For almost two years, Marple in Action have been fighting to stop the retail giant getting the land and vice-chair Mick McPhee was delighted with the result.

“It’s excellent. It’s been a long, drawn out campaign but it is an excellent outcome,” he said. “Marple could have become a ghost town.

“As the ASDA proposal is outside Marple, it would take footfall away from the town and probably would have closed a lot of the businesses.”

Losing business in the town centre was one of a number of reasons why the application was rejected, along with increased traffic and the risk to the town’s PORTAS scheme.

But the decision was not taken lightly as ASDA’s bid included the much-needed renovation of Cheadle and Marple Sixth Form College.

Those in support of the application pointed to the £13million investment and 250 new jobs it would bring to the town, not mention the college’s new state-of-the-art facilities.

An 8,200-strong petition against this proposal showed the strength of feeling in the area, but Councillor Susan Ingham revealed the difficulty in making the decision.

“I welcome the decision,” the Marple Committee Area chair said.

“We have carefully considered the proposal because the college is very important to the people of Marple. We value the education they give to our young people.”

But ultimately, the cons outweighed the pros and Councillor Ingham explained the application went against their policy of focusing on town centres.

“Our policy is to put the town centre first,” she added.

“We are looking to make sure these kinds of developments happen within the town centre and do not harm it.

“We value any contribution to our economy – we want it to thrive – but this proposal was completely at odds with the economy of the town.”

Picture courtesy of Wendy Clarkqt, with thanks.

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