700 new jobs planned for M6 Sandbach junction development
DEVELOPERS have vowed to solve years of misery for motorists at a busy M6 junction if a major office, leisure and residential complex is given the go-ahead.
The Capricorn development, near to Junction 17 of the M6 at Sandbach, could create 777 jobs over the next 18 years.
W&S (Sandbach Ltd) will submit an outline planning application for the scheme to Cheshire East Council on Friday.
Included in the development are proposals to solve congestion and improve traffic flow at the top of the junction's slip roads.
The work would involve building a roundabout at the top of the northbound slip road and putting traffic lights on the southbound side.
The busy A534 Congleton Road runs at the top of the slip roads, which makes it difficult for motorists trying to come off or join the M6.
Norman Howick, marketing and PR consultant for the developer, said: "The traffic problems at Junction 17 have been well-documented over the years and this development couldn't go-ahead without addressing them.
"The current set-up is very dangerous for motorists and it really is an accident waiting to happen.
"What we are proposing as part of the development would make the junction much safer and improve the flow of traffic, which is something which would benefit thousands of people."
The Capricorn development, which would be based on fields to the left of the northbound carriageway, would be built in three phases.
The first phase, which could start next year depending on planning permission, would see a hotel, family pub, drive through Costa Coffee and a Virgin Active Health Club being built.
The second and third phases would involve building 'high-quality' offices, a private hospital and 250 houses.
The plans went on show at Sandbach Town Hall over the weekend.
Mr Howick said: "The proposed development has been talked about for a number of years.
"But there have been problems with land ownership, which are now all under one umbrella.
"We are looking at creating 777 jobs, many of which will be in the skilled jobs and professional sectors.
"Given the site's location next to the motorway, the intention is to attract nationally-known employers.
"A few people have been asking us why can't we have the development without the houses, because they are worried there are too many housing developments going on at the minute.
"There is provision in the Draft Local Plan for additional housing in Sandbach, and we believe this is not only the best, but the least impactful site for it.
"Also, the infrastructure costs would be very high for just a sole commercial development and, if Junction 17 is going to be improved, then it will only be developments in the private sector which can afford to do that.
"The development here would not affect town centre traffic, but would boost its economy."
People living in Sandbach have given a mixed response to the development.
Peter Thompson, aged 32, who lives in Coronation Crescent, said: "The improvements to Junction 17 are a great idea because it can take you minutes to pull out there."
John Cooper, aged 72, who lives in Heath Road, said: "I don't want to see any new housing developments in Sandbach. We have enough of them."