A proposal to reallocate funding within the Crewe Towns Fund programme has been approved by Government – meaning a package of nine projects can continue to advance in Crewe.
Crewe has been allocated a total of £22.9m through the government’s Towns Fund to deliver a package of projects to support the town’s ongoing regeneration.
In response to significant construction cost inflation, Crewe Town Board and Cheshire East Council submitted a proposal to government in November last year asking to amend the programme of projects to free up £5m of the funding, which would then be re-distributed across the remaining projects.
Following approval from government last week, the Lyceum Powerhouse project has now been removed from the programme, with the nine remaining projects now having the resources needed for them to be delivered successfully.
Doug Kinsman, chair of Crewe Town Board, said: “Removing the Lyceum Powerhouse project from our Crewe Towns Fund programme was a decision we of course did not want to have to take.
“But faced with significant external factors – not least the rising costs of materials and contractors – we had to consider whether the projects, if they were scaled back, could still deliver the outcomes that were planned if no further funding was forthcoming.
“This wasn’t achievable and the decision to withdraw the Lyceum Powerhouse project, which government has approved, means we can now move forward with confidence and deliver a package of nine impactful projects that will deliver a range of benefits to our local communities for years to come.”
The nine Crewe Towns Fund projects are:
Warm and Healthy Homes (revised Towns Fund allocation: £2.1m):
This project will deliver a grant scheme so that improvements can be made to targeted heritage properties in Crewe town centre. The scheme is expected to be launched by Cheshire East Council in summer 2024.
The project will also deliver improvements to the public space around these properties.
Repurposing our high streets (Towns Fund allocation remains at £1.5m):
This grant scheme will provide financial support for businesses and organisations taking on vacant premises in Crewe town centre.
Led by Cheshire East Council, it will be launched in April following extensive engagement with local property owners, agents, and prospective applicants.
Mill Street Corridor (revised Towns Fund allocation: £3.6m):
Led by Cheshire East Council, this project aims to deliver a significantly improved route for pedestrians and cyclists travelling between the town centre and railway station.
Consultation was recently carried out with local residents and the wider community, and a planning application is now expected to be submitted by late summer.
Valley Brook Green Corridor (revised Towns Fund allocation: £3.3m):
This project – led by Cheshire East Council and the Environment Agency with the support of Crewe Town Council – aims to connect Queens Park with Mill Street / Edleston Road by delivering an improved route for pedestrians and cyclists that would primarily go through parks and open spaces.
The joint investment will revitalise the area, create new public space, encourage more people to travel by bicycle or on foot, uncover some of the hidden stories of the brook, and improve the watercourse and habitats for wildlife.
Cumberland Arena (revised Towns Fund allocation: £2.4m):
The extension and adaptation of the Cumberland Arena at Thomas Street would deliver enhanced leisure and training facilities, and improved spectator facilities, at South Cheshire’s premier athletics venue.
A planning application for this project, which is led by Everybody Health and Leisure and Cheshire East Council, is expected to be considered shortly.
Crewe Youth Zone (revised Towns Fund allocation: £3.7m):
Delivered by the charity OnSide in partnership with Cheshire East Council, this project would provide thousands of young people with opportunities to engage in activities and access support from skilled youth workers.
The Youth Zone is proposed for Oak Street, and it is expected that a decision on the planning application for the facility will be made soon.
An additional boxing and recreation facility for young people is proposed for Mirion Street, which is being delivered by Crewe Youth Club, South Cheshire Amateur Boxing Club and Cheshire East Council.
It is expected that a planning application for this facility will be submitted in spring.
History centre public space (revised Towns Fund allocation: £0.8m):
This project, led by Cheshire East Council, supports the delivery of works to create new public space in the civic and cultural area of the town centre, which will provide a quality setting for Crewe’s new history centre – planning approval for which was received earlier this month.
Flag Lane Community Hub (revised Towns Fund allocation: £3.9m)
Led by the Always Ahead charity, this project will transform the whole site of the former Crewe swimming pool into a thriving community hub where people will be able to spend leisure time and access support.
Planning consent is in place for the scheme and initial works have been carried out prior to more intensive activity starting this summer.
Pocket Parks (revised Towns Fund allocation: £1.3m):
This project – led by Cheshire East Council and its environmental services company, Ansa – will improve the recreation facilities and play equipment at eight pocket parks in Crewe.
Following extensive consultation with local residents, the first wave of improvements will begin shortly in the pocket parks located at McLaren Street, Derby Docks, Queen Street and School Crescent.
Further consultation will be carried out with local communities later this year about plans for pocket parks in Samuel Street, Lime Tree Avenue, Valley Park and Westminster Street.
This project will also support the creation of a new facility next to the Jubilee Gardens site, in Hightown – plans for which are being led by local charity, The Wishing Well.
The Lyceum Powerhouse project originally proposed a new entertainment and arts space in the town centre.
Although this project will receive no further funding from the Towns Fund, Cheshire East Council is continuing to advance the proposal further, so it could be brought forward if and when appropriate funding can be raised.
More information about Crewe Town Board and the Towns Fund programme for Crewe can be found here.