Meet the board
Simon Yates, Community Representative
For the last 30 years I have either worked or lived in Crewe and had become increasingly concerned at the lack of a voice for the people of Crewe and the interests of Crewe as a Town which has strong points but also significant problems.
I am married to Diane, a former Mayor of Crewe and have 3 adult daughters, one of whom works in Crewe, one in the West Midlands and one in Australia. I am currently the President of my Rotary Club and am also the Assistant Governor for 10 Rotary Clubs in Cheshire.
I am a continuous student in the study of modern political and military history.
I was the Leader of Crewe Town Council between 2015-2019 and am the former Chief Executive of Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Trust, from 1993 to 2006. I would like to share my views on the past – and future – of Crewe and the potential for the town if successful with a Towns Fund bid.
This bid is about what we can all do to try and bring resource to Crewe but importantly be clear about what the strategy for the future of the town is. There’s a huge spread of commitment across all sorts of organisations and groups and interests in terms of making Crewe a success. There’s a massive, thriving economic base that’s really got to be built on.
It’s not just the money but also the philosophy behind the plan which will do something to pull all the disparate bits together, in an overall jigsaw. I see this as trying to create that picture for Crewe in the future.
This is a huge opportunity to raise the standards of living of people working and living in Crewe by bringing in money from outside. So, whether the projects that emerge be about connectivity or whether they’re about the living environment or about skills and training, all of them have got to deliver for people now as well as for people in the future.
I also think we need to develop the culture and heritage offering of the town. There’s lots of little community groups in the town who respond immediately to issues around putting on events or creating something, but that needs to be supported by big high-level stuff as well. Crewe’s a railway town but where is the celebration of it? Trains and cars that were made in Crewe can be found all over the world. What a fantastic thing to be able to say for ourselves.
There have been events that have taken place in town over the past few years that have brought people together, from different communities, but that also bring people in to Crewe. We’ve had food festivals and community parties, and our Remembrance Sunday event, all of have had massive engagement from the local population. But we’ve lost momentum with Covid, and we need to make sure that comes back with renewed energy.
We need to improve the quality of housing, but we need wildlife and green spaces as well. The quality of outdoor space and green living makes a huge difference to the health of the population.
There are 11 allotments in the town, and they’re sometimes in the oldest and most deprived areas of the town, but they’re fantastic. When you go into them and see the energy, and the effort and the colour and the work that people are doing to try and improve things, like encouraging wildlife. In an urban environment that’s exactly what we should be trying to encourage people to do.
Really important for our local community groups is developing Lyceum Square. You can sell the cultural heritage on the back of that scheme because of the other things that will emerge, particularly around transport and green spaces. People come into Crewe from all over to go to the Lyceum Theatre. If we could get one side of Lyceum Square that was really active, buzzing and attracting people into the town it would give people a fantastic facility to use in the future.
I’m really excited about the Towns Fund and the chance to get a strategy for Crewe that sticks. There is an opportunity to pull lots of things together to create something which can be continuously added to or expanded further in the future.
“We need to improve the quality of housing, but we need wildlife and green spaces as well. The quality of outdoor space and green living makes a huge difference to the health of the population“.