Partners welcome good news for regeneration of Crewe

Cllr Sam Corcoran

A range of partners involved in bringing about change for Crewe are welcoming good news this week after a series of announcements and milestones have been reached – taking the town a step closer to achieving its future vision.

Partners, consisting of the Crewe Cultural Forum, Crewe Town Board, HQ Theatres, Crewe Town Council and Cheshire East Council, have all welcomed the news that:

● The demolition of the vacant shops at the Royal Arcade site will start to take place in mid-October;
● £750,000 of accelerated funding has been awarded from the Towns Fund to improve the Lyceum Square in Crewe;
● A new operator has been secured to manage Crewe markets for the next five years, including the remodelled Crewe Market Hall, ahead of its anticipated opening next year; and
● Crewe Town Council has been successful in securing funding from the Architectural Heritage Fund to employ a heritage project officer for Crewe.

Cllr Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This signals the next exciting stage of regeneration for Crewe town centre and follows in the footsteps of the Lifestyle Centre and University Technical College.

“This news helps to form part of the wider long-term vision for Crewe and is the start of a chain of exciting investment announcements. We will build connections that will benefit the town, its community, businesses and residents of Cheshire East.

“We recognise Crewe has been waiting a long time for change and the ongoing pandemic has certainly added to this, however, now is the time for action.

“We could talk about these projects in isolation, but if you take them as a collective it starts to show first steps to Crewe’s wider transformation and how we are getting things done together.

The demolition date of the vacant shops at the Royal Arcade site has been agreed between Cheshire East Council and its developer, Peveril Securities, leading the way for the site to be clear by May 2021.

The demolition works, which will begin this month, will see the final services disconnected and asbestos removed ahead of machinery arriving onsite, ready for the site’s demolition.

Cllr Nick Mannion, cabinet member for environment and regeneration, said: “The current Royal Arcade site has been deteriorating for years and its removal makes way for Crewe’s new offer which includes a cinema, leisure and retail opportunities – subject to contracts and planning permission. The site’s removal will also save the council maintenance costs.”

Accelerated funding of £750,000 has been awarded for an improvement scheme developed by the Crewe Cultural Forum for the Lyceum Square.

This is accelerated funding from the Government’s £3.6bn Towns Fund and has been awarded to the partners in Crewe through the Crewe Town Board to help the town to ‘build back better’.

The project named ‘Ly 2’ seeks to bring physical enhancements to Lyceum Square and its adjoining areas.

This will provide a significant outdoor space with infrastructure to hold open air events and animation activities including culture/arts with the participation of residents and visitors.

The benefits of the investment will include:

  • Encourage increased footfall into the town centre;
  • Enhance and support the offer of the £3m Market Hall Development;
  • A critical outdoor area in which to enjoy performances and entertainment from the Lyceum Theatre as well as festivals and special events created with and by local people and businesses; and
  • Help bring the community together.

It is anticipated that the development will provide economic regeneration opportunities for small businesses and will be an improvement to the vitality of the town centre.

Adam Knight, director of Crewe Lyceum Theatre, Town Board member and chair of the Cultural Forum, said: “The awarding of £750k accelerated funding for the re-imagining of Lyceum Square as a high-quality, community-focused creative events space is a hugely exciting development.

“Crewe is people-powered and this project recognises and builds on the collective ambitions of local people as expressed through the work of the Crewe Cultural Forum, August’s COVID-safe CreWE CREATE grassroots activities, the Lyceum’s creative engagement programme and through successful destination events like WaveField, trAction and LUMEN.

“As the town comes together to realise a new vision for the future, this funding underlines the possibilities of what can be achieved through collaborative working and the approach taken by Cheshire East Council, Crewe Lyceum & HQ Theatres, Crewe Town Council and the newly-formed Town Board in securing these funds.”

Doug Kinsman, chair of the Crewe Towns Board, said: “This is great news for Crewe and perhaps even more significant at this time with COVID-19 still causing so many challenges for us all.

“The time frame available to work-up a compelling proposal was extremely tight so I would like to congratulate all of those who were directly involved in getting this successful submission over the line.

“The hard work really starts now to ensure that we design, create and deliver an inspiring, engaging and inclusive project that showcases Crewe’s intent and starts to build back some Civic pride.”