Business cases for a further two major projects in Crewe have been approved by government – a milestone the Town Board says ‘shows confidence in our vision for Crewe’.
Crewe Town Board is overseeing work to receive up to £22.9m in funding from the government’s Towns Fund and plans for a package of 10 projects that will support Crewe’s ongoing regeneration.
Having signed off the business cases for the Flag Lane Baths Community Hub and Crewe Youth Zone projects in June, the government has now also signed off the ‘pocket parks’ and ‘history centre public realm’ projects.
Doug Kinsman, chair of Crewe Town Board, said: “For us to now have a total of four projects at this stage is extremely exciting and shows confidence in our vision for Crewe.
“It is of course also a huge leap forward in seeing these projects becoming a reality and local communities being able to enjoy the benefits.”
The Pockets Park project is being led in partnership by Cheshire East Council, ANSA Environmental Services – the council’s wholly-owned environmental services company –and Crewe Town Council.
It aims to see eight pocket parks in Crewe – Queen Street, Derby Docks, McLaren Street, School Crescent, Samuel Street, Lime Tree Avenue, Valley Park and Westminster Street –become more attractive and better equipped spaces for people to spend time, play and enjoy physical activity.
Local communities will be asked to share their views as plans for each of the pocket parks develop, with engagement expected to start next month for the first four parks.
As part of the overall project, local charity The Wishing Well, which provides a variety of services to improve the health and wellbeing of local people, is proposing to deliver a multi-use games area (MUGA) near to Jubilee Gardens in Hightown.
Charles Maines, CEO of The Wishing Well, said: “Our plans for Jubilee Gardens are to provide a safe space for people of all ages to engage in sport, play and physical activity which in turn improves health and wellbeing, increases community cohesion and tackles issues such as social isolation, anti-social behaviour and crime.”
The history centre public realm project is part of a larger shared archives project for Cheshire between Cheshire East Council and Cheshire West and Chester Council.
The archives project – called ‘Cheshire’s archives: a story shared’ – is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and aims to rehouse the collections in two bespoke new history centres.
The centres, one of which is planned for the site of Crewe’s former library, will provide access to the archives for all – for information, learning and enjoyment.
The Towns Fund project, led by Cheshire East Council, will create new public space around the history centre in Crewe, with high-quality paving and planting areas, activity space, new seating and bike racks and public art.
There are also plans to deliver a joint project between Cheshire College – South and West and world leading ice cream van manufacturers Whitby Morrison.
It would see the refurbishment of an ice cream van, which would then be run by students as a standalone enterprise. The ice cream van would be in use across the town, while having a regular spot in the public space around the history centre.
Helen Nellist, deputy principal of Cheshire College – South & West, said: “The partnership between us and Whitby Morrison brings a fantastic opportunity to extend the work experience and training opportunities available for students from Cheshire College and within the wider community.
“We look forward to the further opportunities it creates for students interested in business innovation and enterprise.”
The Towns Fund plans are in addition to a separate project being funded through the government’s Future High Streets Fund and delivered by Cheshire East Council, which includes the clearance of the former Crewe Library site to make way for the history centre, and the creation of further public space, a new car park and new entrances to the Magistrates’ Court.
Business cases for the remaining six Towns Fund projects will all be submitted to government by the end of summer for its agreement and sign off.
It is only once a final funding offer has been made by government – and once other processes, approvals and grant conditions have been met, including planning permission in some cases – that physical works on the projects can begin.
“It is of course a huge leap forward in seeing these projects becoming a reality and local communities being able to enjoy the benefits.”