Policy RET 10: Crewe town centre
The council will support opportunities for improving and regenerating Crewe town centre in the development areas defined in this policy and identified in Figure 9.1 'Crewe town centre development areas' and on the adopted policies map. To achieve this aim, alongside applying policies relevant to all town centres, the following considerations will also apply:
- Northern Edge Development Area (NEDA): Proposals involving the redevelopment of existing buildings and other land uses in the NEDA will be supported where they provide:
- larger floorplate retail units to meet modern retailer requirements;
- high quality pedestrian routes and public realm connecting them with Victoria Street through the Victoria Centre and the Market Shopping Centre;
- measures to improve pedestrian and cycle connectivity between the NEDA and the University Technical College (UTC) to the north of West Street, where appropriate.
- Royal Arcade Development Area (RADA): A comprehensive, leisure-led mixed use regeneration scheme will be supported in principle in the RADA central core. The scheme should:
- be anchored by a multiplex cinema;
- include leisure and retail units, and potentially other main town centre uses;
- be designed with open streets with active building frontages;
- include a new multi storey car park, available for all town centre visitors;
- provide attractive and safe routes through the area for pedestrians and cyclists between Victoria Street, Queensway, Delamere Street and Charles Street;
- provide a new bus interchange to replace the existing bus station; and
- provide main gateway connections into the core of the town centre at the junction of Queensway and Victoria Street.
- Proposals that are likely to prejudice the comprehensive redevelopment of the RADA will not be permitted.
- Southern Gateway Development Area (SGDA): Recognising the significance of the SGDA as the arrival point into the town centre for pedestrians and vehicles from the railway station, the following considerations will apply:
- the refurbishment of existing buildings along High Street to support a vibrant range of main town centre uses will be supported. This could include the development of existing gaps in the street frontages and the redevelopment or improvement of existing poorly designed buildings;
- development proposals should provide for, wherever possible, safe and attractive pedestrian connections, including through to the Civic and Cultural Quarter Development Area (CCQDA), thereby reinforcing and improving connectivity between the primary shopping area, the CCQDA and Crewe Railway Station;
- redevelopment or reconfiguration on the site currently occupied by the retail warehouse buildings on the eastern part of the SGDA should provide for new and improved pedestrian/cycling connections between that site and the rest of the SGDA and also between that site and the CCQDA.
- Civic and Cultural Quarter Development Area (CCQDA): The following development schemes will be supported:
- the re-use or redevelopment of the former library buildings for a range of civic, cultural, community and other town centre uses, including a potential history centre;
- the flexible use of Crewe Market Hall, to remain functioning primarily as a market, but allowing for other appropriate uses, for example, for entertainment and community events; and
- the re-use of Christ Church for a cultural, leisure, entertainment, community or other town centre use (or uses), respecting its grade II listed status.
- In addition to the above, the following principles will also apply across the town centre:
- Town centre public realm improvements: Proposals that improve the quality of the public spaces, including green spaces, enhance the setting of heritage assets and improve routes across the town centre for pedestrians and cyclists, and links between the town centre, UTC and Crewe Railway Station, will be supported.
- Connectivity between the town centre and Grand Junction Retail Park: The council will support and implement a range of measures to improve pedestrian and cycle connectivity between the town centre and Grand Junction Retail Park, including through developer contributions, where justified.
- New residential accommodation in the town centre: New high quality residential accommodation in the town centre will be supported in line with Policy RET 8 'Residential accommodation in the town centre'.
9.43 Crewe town centre has a large catchment area with over 500,000 people living within a 30 minute drive-time. Crewe is recognised as a great place to live. It is the largest settlement in Cheshire East and is accommodating the highest share of the housing and employment growth in the LPS.
9.44 The town centre suffers from a number of significant challenges including perception, the domination of key gateways into the town centre by car parks, poor quality connectivity through it by foot, vacant and underutilised buildings and, common to many other centres, an increasingly difficult retail market along with competition from out-of-centre retail and leisure destinations.
9.45 However, looking ahead, the town centre has great potential as a destination and the local plan needs to play its full part to make sure this is harnessed. The town centre needs to diversify its offer, to become a mixed-use destination that is attractive both during the day and in the evenings, for shopping and as a place of choice to spend leisure time.
9.46 A number of complementary strategies have been prepared (or are in preparation) for Crewe, including the Town Centre Regeneration Delivery Framework. The council will give consideration as to how proposed developments relate to these strategies and contribute towards a strategic approach for public realm improvements across the town centre.
9.47 The regeneration programme for the town centre, agreed by the council’s cabinet in September 2017, established a number of priorities that this planning policy seeks to support, 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; and
- diversify and enhance the market offer.
Figure 9.1 Crewe town centre development areas
9.48 A better-connected arrangement of buildings is promoted in the Northern Edge Development Area, which would provide an enhanced sense of arrival and gateway into the town centre from the north and create better connections between the Victoria Centre, Market Shopping Centre, UTC and Lyceum Square.
9.49 The Royal Arcade site provides an opportunity for transformational regeneration within the central core of the town centre. Redevelopment of the existing Royal Arcade site would create a new cinema-anchored, leisure-led mixed-use scheme incorporating a new bus interchange, mixed leisure (including food and beverage) and retail uses. It is also expected to incorporate a new multi-storey public car park. This scheme will provide a focal point for visitors to the town centre, generating significant additional footfall and consumer expenditure alongside enhanced public realm and connections to other parts of the town centre.
9.50 The Civic and Cultural Quarter brings together a range of leisure, cultural and civic functions including the Lifestyle Centre and the Municipal Buildings, in addition to the area around Memorial Square and Christ Church. The vision for the quarter will look to remodel the civic hub, currently comprising the former library, police station, law courts and undercroft car parking. Key projects will bring about the enhanced use of the Crewe Indoor Market, including sympathetic remodelling of the grade II listed building and public realm investment in the existing market sheds and Lyceum Square area.
9.51 The Southern Gateway forms the entrance to the town centre from Mill Street and Crewe Railway Station. Investment in properties along Oak Street and High Street is encouraged for a mix of uses, consistent with the need to create a high quality connection between the station and town centre. This could include the potential for land assembly of properties in High Street, which are currently fragmented.
9.52 The council will work proactively to realise key development opportunities across the town centre and also important walking and cycling linkages within and around the town centre, including linkages with the Grand Junction Retail Park and Crewe Railway Station. This may involve the council assembling land and, where necessary and appropriate, using compulsory purchase powers to do so.
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