Work to transform the civic and cultural quarter of Crewe town centre will begin next month – making way for construction to start in spring on part of a county-wide archives project.
The project, led by Cheshire East Council, will deliver the first part of a new and attractive pedestrian link between the Lifestyle Centre, Memorial Square and the Market Hall – improving links to the south of the town centre – as well as a new two-storey entrance to the Magistrates’ Courts, and a new car park.
New planting, lighting, and seating will revamp the area and extend the current public space around Memorial Square.
As part of the works, the site of the former library and the structure over the existing Civic Centre car park will be cleared to provide an attractive setting for a new history centre – part of the ‘Cheshire’s archives: a story shared’ project which will give greater access to the county’s archives, engage, and inspire communities, and preserve the collections for future generations.
Site preparation works will begin on 12 December, meaning the Civic Centre car park will no longer be in use from that date.
Councillor Nick Mannion, vice chair of Cheshire East Council’s economy and growth committee, said: “This project is one of many others being progressed across the town centre to provide more reasons for people to visit and to stay for longer.
“While significant financial challenges impacting on commercial viability have recently led us to take a new direction with phase two of the Royal Arcade scheme, funding from the government’s Future High Streets Fund and Towns Fund totalling £37m, as well as other external funding, means that Crewe’s regeneration programme continues to be driven forward, despite ongoing financial pressures affecting commercial investment and council spending.
“This latest project in the civic and cultural quarter – supported by both the Future High Streets Fund and Towns Fund – will regenerate a key area of the town centre and provide the clear site that is needed so that work can begin on the history centre, which will be a fantastic asset for residents in the town and wider borough to be able to access.”
Cllr Mannion added: “While these works are being completed, other nearby public car parks will still be available to town centre visitors, including Thomas Street and Delamere Street, and work on the town’s new multi-storey car park is also well advanced and is expected to be completed in spring next year.
“This will provide modern parking facilities in a central location and replace car parks that are being used for other development projects, such as the new Youth Zone being progressed for Oak Street car park.”
The pedestrian link between the Lifestyle Centre, Memorial Square and the Market Hall, as well as the new parking facilities in that area, will be completed in summer next year.
Work on the construction of a new history centre is expected to begin by spring – with the building set to open in summer 2025.
‘Cheshire’s archives: a story shared’ is led by Cheshire Archives and Local Studies, a shared service of Cheshire East Council and Cheshire West and Chester Council, which looks after the county’s unique and irreplaceable written and pictorial history.
The project will transform the way the archives service works, and a second new history centre will be delivered on the site of the former Enterprise Centre, in Lightfoot Street, Chester.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund is contributing £4.45m, which has been made possible through money raised by National Lottery players, allowing for construction of the centres to go ahead.
The funding from the Heritage Fund not only contributes towards the new facilities but will help the service to fund a programme of new activities across the county until March 2027.