Crewe Town Centre Regeneration Programme
Supported by the Local Growth Fund through Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership
Crewe town centre is now at a pivotal point in terms of its future direction. Along with many other towns, it has struggled to adapt to a reduction in the number of retailers in its primary shopping area, and needs to forge a new role that is far more mixed-used in its approach, making it a place where more people want to visit and stay for longer.
This requires a strategy based on more leisure uses, better facilities and a higher quality environment. The town centre needs to diversify its offer, to become a mixed used destination that is attractive both during the day and in the evenings – for shopping and as a place of choice to spend leisure time.
Crewe is well-placed; it has a growing population which is expected to increase further following the publication of plans for HS2 services to its planned hub station. It also has a growing catchment population in the wider south Cheshire area which spends a disproportionately low amount of disposable income in Crewe – ‘leakage’ that can potentially be drawn back into the town centre.
The regeneration of Crewe will support the Council’s strategic aim of protecting and enhancing the ‘Quality of Place’ in the Borough. A successful regeneration programme will not only deliver economic benefits, it will promote well-being for local residents and deliver a number of social benefits e.g. more cultural opportunities, improved education, skills levels and reduced health inequalities.
The Council has developed a town centre regeneration programme to address a steady decline in investment and footfall in the town centre. The intention is to enhance the ‘offer’ of the town centre as a place to visit, recapturing consumer expenditure lost from the Crewe and the South Cheshire area to competitor locations.
The Regeneration Programme for the town centre, agreed by the Council’s Cabinet in September 2017 established a number of priorities, including:
- Develop distinct areas of change adding a greater richness of experience and distinctiveness to the town centre - the Royal Arcade, the Civic and Cultural Quarter, the Northern Edge and Southern Gateway
- The delivery of the Royal Arcade scheme as a new anchor leisure and retail attraction in the heart of the town centre along with a new high quality bus interchange. This scheme is pivotal to the town centre’s regeneration and future success.
- Capitalise on the delivery of recent major developments, the UTC and Lifestyle Centre to reinforce shopping circuits and drive footfall.
- Enhance the town centre’s public realm, in pedestrian areas and at key gateways to the town centre, utilising high quality design and materials, street furniture and public art
- Diversify and enhance the Market offer
Having been identified as a location for a HS2 Hub Station, the Council recognises the potential for significant economic growth, and the importance of ensuring that the town is geared up to make the most of this, following the expected opening of a HS2 hub station in 2027.
Key early stages of the regeneration programme have been completed, with the construction and opening of the Crewe Lifestyle Centre in 2016, and the development of the Crewe Engineering & Technical University Technical College, in two stages (September 2016 and September 2017).
In September 2017, the Council approved plans for £15million investment to support further key elements of the Crewe town centre regeneration programme. This is aligned to £10million Local Growth Fund grant through Cheshire & Warrington LEP and approximately £25million private sector investment.
Cheshire East Council is committed to working with local stakeholders including Crewe Town Council, South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce, local property owners and businesses to ensure that the regeneration programme is delivered in a way that maximise benefits and minimises disruption.
The Cheshire East Local Plan sets out the planning policy for the borough. Its ‘Site Allocations and Development Policies document’ (First Draft) identifies that, despite a period of dynamic change, town centres remain the focal point for much retailing, leisure and commerce. The plan seeks to support the role and function of town centres through this period of change, particularly by concentrating on core areas and activities. In recognition of their role as principal towns, more detailed policy is provided for Crewe and Macclesfield.
Further information about the Crewe Town Centre Planning Policy.
In 2015 the Council acquired the Royal Arcade site in Crewe town centre and commenced the procurement of a development partner to deliver a mixed-use development to include a new cinema, restaurants and retail uses, as well as a replacement bus station.
Further information about the Royal Arcade.
Crewe Market Hall
In developing a new vision for Crewe’s markets, Cheshire East Council has taken a bold step in their transformation – with the historic Market Hall about to undergo an exciting £3m programme of refurbishment.
Opening six days a week, with a new commercial operator, the refurbished Market Hall will be brimming with a range of high quality traders including fresh food retailers, independent eateries, artisans and makers, while also featuring pop-up stalls and events.
There will be a regular programme of activities and demonstrations and flexibility for the building to be opened up during the evening for events, entertainment and other themed activities.
The refurbishment will play an important role in Crewe repositioning itself as a prime leisure and retail destination.
More information, including how to register your interest as a potential trader, can be found on the Crewe Market Hall webpage.
Crewe Public Realm Strategy
The Council have developed a Public Realm Strategy for Crewe Town Centre following analysis of existing policy context, public realm and the history of the town centre. This strategy identifies a vision and objectives for public realm in the town centre, including a spatial strategy, transport and street hierarchy, materials palette, guidelines on street furniture and greenspaces and suggestions in relation to public art, creative interventions, lighting, wayfinding and shop frontages.
Further information about the Crewe Public Realm Strategy.
Crewe Cultural Strategy
We are entering an exciting time for Crewe and recognise the value that culture has in supporting regeneration and driving positive change. A cultural strategy for Crewe will enable cultural organisations and individuals to work collaboratively to realise the cultural opportunities and the benefits to the strategic regeneration of Crewe.
The council is supporting the Crewe Cultural Strategy (PDF, 3MB) developed by the Crewe Cultural Forum. The strategy has been almost two years in development, with over one hundred Crewe residents, organisations, business and stakeholders contributing their views and lending their support.
Crewe History Centre
Further information about the Crewe History Centre