Partners working together in Crewe to bring forward major change and investment in the town have welcomed plans to develop Lyceum Square into an exciting open-air events and performance space.

Crewe Town Board has been allocated £750,000 ‘accelerated funding’ by government via the Towns Fund for an improvement scheme for the Lyceum Square and adjoining areas.

The vision for the ‘Ly2’ scheme was developed by the Crewe Cultural Forum – a collaboration of more than 100 residents, organisations and businesses in Crewe – and a detailed planning application has now been submitted by Cheshire East Council.

The plans would see the centre of Lyceum Square becoming a mixed-use space to host open-air events, festivals, performances, and activities throughout the year, which would include a new events stage with integrated digital screen.

Meanwhile, part of the outdoor market shed area – that is currently not in use – would be transformed into a ‘creative centre’.

Shipping containers and small cabins would provide a base for small emerging businesses and artists to collaborate and exhibit their work. 

Colourful and multi-functional street furniture would also be installed and key gateways into the square improved by, for example, installing floor graphics and a wall mural. 

The Ly2 project is being delivered by Cheshire East Council and overseen by Crewe Town Board. It is also being supported by Crewe Town Council.

Doug Kinsman, chair of Crewe Town BoardDoug Kinsman, chair of Crewe Town Board, said: “In July, Crewe was announced by government as one of the latest UK towns to successfully secure a ‘Town Deal’ and be allocated up to £22.9m of funding.

“It is a major achievement for the town and the funding will have a significant impact on delivering a positive future for Crewe and its communities – but there is much that still needs to be done before a final funding offer can be made by government and physical works on projects can begin.

Public art is planned to be a key component of the scheme and a series of public art briefs have been developed by Cheshire East Council in collaboration with Global Street Art. 

“However, with Ly2, we have the opportunity to begin work and deliver on a project much sooner, so that residents, businesses and visitors to our town can benefit from all that it will offer and enjoy an inspiring, engaging and inclusive space.”

The intention is to deliver a number of art projects by local artists and the community, including façade graphics for the shipping containers, a wall mural for the Market Shopping Centre, and ‘art carpets’.

Adam Knight, director of Crewe Lyceum Theatre, Town Board member and chair of the Cultural Forum, said: “The Ly2 scheme is a shining example of what can be achieved through a collaborative approach, where positive change can be enacted by the passion and creativity of the community.

“The transformative potential of this investment will provide opportunities to showcase grassroots and local talent as well as the best of touring festivals, exhibitions and special events in a newly-revitalised town centre setting.”

The planning application can be viewed via Cheshire East Council’s planning portal by searching for planning application 21/4671N.

A drop-in public engagement event will be held from 10am-4pm on Friday 8 October at Crewe Market Hall where Cheshire East Council officers will be available to answer any questions.

The final date for submitting comments on the planning application is Wednesday 20 October, 2021.