NEW homes, a 20-berth marina and Middlewich’s long-awaited train station are all in the pipeline as part of a canal-side regeneration plan.

Cheshire East Council has unveiled its long-awaited masterplan for Brooks Lane which – if approved following public consultation – will be used as a blueprint for developers to transform the area.

Cllr Bernice Walmsley, CEC member for Middlewich, said: “Brooks Lane is an important area and I am quite pleased with how the masterplan is going.

“Having met the consultants who worked on it, I was very pleased that they knew what needed to be done and they have done a great job of it.”

Around 450 new properties, including affordable homes, could be built in the area over a 15 to 20-year period – with 200 of those expected to be built before CEC’s current local plan ends in 2030.

A potential location for the train station is identified, alongside car parking provision, while Murgatroyd’s Brine Pump would also be in line for renovation as part of the scheme.

Regeneration could also include a marina with 20 berths – a significant increase on the plans which have previously been put forward by Brooks Lane Industrial Estate firm Intertechnic.

That application was resubmitted by the company after being rejected by councillors last summer, who felt the proposal was ‘premature’ before CEC had developed a masterplan for Brooks Lane.

“We have got to plan for the future properly,” added Cllr Walmsley.

“The current application is for a 12-berth marina, but this masterplan calls for a 20-berth marina, which is more appropriate.

“That will bring in footfall and boost our tourism industry – while new businesses can open alongside it, plus new footpaths and cycleways into town. That is what I’m looking to see from the marina.

“And the major development is the train station – they have planned out where the car park would be and even the bus stops.”

If approved, CEC intends to carry out the masterplan in phases – with different types of housing in different locations, such as apartments closer to the train station.

But Cllr Jonathan Parry, Labour member of Middlewich Town Council, insists the masterplan is ‘just a wish-list’ and a means of building more homes in a town where infrastructure is already stretched.

“It is not in the best interests of Middlewich residents,” he said.

“They throw in a few nice touches like the marina, but we already have boats there so it is just a like-for-like replacement.

“I will campaign for the train station but they are simply building up our expectations, and our expectations are very low because of what we have gone through with the bypass.

“Just having a wish-list in a masterplan does not change anything. It just makes things a whole lot easier for developers to build houses. We cannot cope with any more development in Middlewich.”

Cheshire East Council’s strategic planning board is expected to sign off the draft masterplan for a six-week public consultation when it meets in Crewe next Wednesday.