The fuzzy boundary zone between a location’s commercial centre, industrial centre and residential areas are often sites of small-scale, place-adapted activity. At the edges, where rents are lower and buildings more adaptable, experimentation occurs along with opportunities for decentralised fashion activity that reflect local priorities, needs, tastes, a carnival, the weather:

  • Much of the regeneration activity of Macclesfield centres on increasing the number of retailers in the town centre as a way to rejuvenate a high street under threat from online and out-of-town shopping.
  • The fashion retail offer on the high street shows little connection to place. Chain retailers are limited in the ways they can adapt to local customers’ needs, primarily because they are centrally managed from outside of the area.
  • High rents and rates in the town centre favour large fashion retail and pushes a broader range of scales and types of fashion business and service activity to the edges of the shopping area.
  • The retreating textiles industry has left empty mill buildings on the fringes of the town’s centre that are large, adaptable spaces. These are now home to businesses, organisations and services, ranging from a community arts centre to a modern textile printing business.
  • At the edges footfall and visibility is lower, as is scale and homogeneity.