3 reasons why you should move to Macclesfield
PUBLISHED: 00:00 11 February 2020
This former mill town may have been overlooked in the past, but its evolving centre and ideal location hits the sweet spot between city and country.
Macclesfield might seem at first glance like another sleepy market town with a high street struggling to come to terms with the post-retail apocalypse, but rather than wait for the promise of the green shoots of recovery to naturally take root, the local townsfolk took it upon themselves to grow an entire ecosystem of independent shops, bars and cafes - which makes it one of Cheshire's best kept secrets.
Away from the main drag - packed with typical town centre shops and amenities - the historic cobbled side-streets hide award-winning restaurants, vintage shops, bars and cafés that have justifiably started drawing comparisons to Manchester's Northern Quarter.
Twenty miles up the road, as Manchester's prices and population creep up, people are looking to live further out. Being only 20 minutes away from the city by train and a hotspot for new housing makes quirky Macclesfield a commuter's dream. Nestled in the foothills of the Peak District, there are leafy forests and picturesque country walks to lure you away from the urban jungle. Macclesfield isn't a compromise on house prices, but rather the best of both worlds: city-centre working and country living.
Food & Music to Love
The opening of Picturedrome - Macclesfield's very own Alty Market - may have been the biggest thing to happen to the town in recent years, but don't let it distract you from the other end of town. Macclesfield's small-scale version of the Northern Quarter is locally referred to as the Castle Quarter. Treat your sweet tooth in Cherry Blossom Bakery (even take a cake decorating class, if that's your thing); further down the cobbles is Salt Bar, recommended on BBC2's 'The Restaurant Man' and double Good Food Award winner, serving tasty and homely Scandinavian food; and across the road, for a lighter snack, is Tempranillo tapas and wine bar.
For lovers of live music, Mash Guru is a kitsch venue founded by local musician Pete Mason, while real ale fans have plenty of choice - Five Clouds Tap and Bottle, The Treacle Tap, The Snow Goose and Red Willow, all independent microbreweries and bars.
In 2005 the town was nationally humiliated after being named and shamed by The State of the Nation Report as the 'least cultured' place in Britain. Since then local artists have put efforts into growing and celebrating the culture and heritage of the town. They began by resurrecting Barnaby Festival, which dates back to the 13th century, and reinvented it as a yearly midsummer celebration of contemporary arts and culture, where every coffee shop, bar and pub becomes a live music venue, art house or theatre.
The Treacle Market has also been resurrected, on the last Sunday of every month, offering 160 stalls of unique crafts, vintage finds, food and drink. Macclesfield's lack of a mainstream cinema was a major factor in its cultural-desert status. After too many broken promises of a fancy multiplex the local heritage centre opened CineMacc in its premises, a centre that shows all the latest releases at a very reasonable price.
Bag a property
'When it comes to property, one of Macclesfield's huge draws is its sheer variety of characterful stock,' says Nicholas Longworth, Partner at Gascoigne Halman estate agency.
'From mill cottages to Victorian villas there's a fabulous range of houses to suit most needs and budgets. And it's relatively still an affordable area - especially when you start looking at the plethora of new builds that are hitting the market. And it's no surprise that developers are drawn to the area. It's a great place for young professionals and families to buy. You're in the foothills of the Peak District with beautiful countryside right on your doorstep. The local schooling is excellent in both the private and state sectors. It's no use pretending that the centre hasn't struggled in recent years - but the opening of Picturedrome is symbolic of the ambition of the town and the kind of people who are living here now. There's certainly a renewed energy and positivity about Macclesfield - a great time to buy!'
Why I moved here
I work in Manchester's Spinningfields and after renting in the city I started looking for places to buy. Widening my search I realised I could get much more for my money further afield and Macclesfield surprisingly ticked all the boxes. I moved here last year and love it.
Why I've stayed here
As a teacher it was the choice of so many outstanding schools that encouraged me to move my career and family to Macclesfield. It's proven to be the perfect place to raise a family and 20 years on, even now that I'm retired, there's so much to do and everything you need in town.