Crewe Town Board says there is now an ‘unprecedented opportunity’ to write a new chapter in the town’s history, as members continue their work to help secure up to £25m in Government funding
The board – made up representatives from the community, public, private and voluntary sectors – is developing a Town Investment Plan as part of a bid for funding from the government’s Towns Fund. Through discussions with the community, members are developing a vision and strategy that will shape the transformation of Crewe over the coming years.
Board chair Doug Kinsman, of Crewe-based SG World, said: “The government has asked us to develop a Town Investment Plan with local stakeholders, including Cheshire East Council and Crewe Town Council, and local residents have a very important role to play in identifying the projects that can make the biggest difference to them.
“I volunteered for this position as we now have an unprecedented opportunity to change this narrative and write a new chapter in the history of Crewe.”
He added: “Successful regeneration is only truly successful when it is community-led and involves all the various elements that ultimately come together to form a thriving town.
“We have therefore made sure that the board includes representatives of the community and that we engage with the community as our plans for the town develop.
“We need to ensure that we create an environment where everyone feels they have a voice and as a group we achieve consensus, make timely and robust decisions which are backed up by accountability and action.
“Those that have the honour to sit on the Crewe Town Board have a profound responsibility to the town to ensure that we are successful in our endeavour to drive Crewe forward to greater economic, cultural and social wellbeing.”
Crewe is one of 101 towns selected to put forward a bid for funding from the government’s Towns Fund, which will be available to spend up to 2026.
If successful, Crewe will be able to deliver a variety of capital projects to boost the town’s long-term economic growth and development. Priorities will include regeneration, planning and land-use; arts, culture and heritage; local transport; digital connectivity and skills and enterprise infrastructure.
Crewe Town Board has been reaching out to communities and leaders across the town to gather project proposals for the bid and find out what outcomes people want to see.
These will feed into Crewe’s Town Investment Plan, ready for the final submission of Crewe’s bid in January 2021.
Doug said: “What we need to do with the Towns Fund investment is to make Crewe a destination for people to want to live, work, socialise and shop in.
“We must showcase a unified vision to attract investors buoyed by the single-minded commitment and unwavering approach that gives the confidence and belief that Crewe knows where it is going and is on an upward track of growth and development, creating an attractive destination for inward investment.”
The board is also helping to oversee the delivery of other projects already in the pipeline, including the town centre’s regeneration and HS2 hub station, to ensure all are aligned to the same vision.
In addition, it has been awarded £750,000 accelerated funding from the Towns Fund for an improvement scheme developed by the Crewe Cultural Forum for the Lyceum Square.
The project, named ‘Ly2’, seeks to bring physical enhancements to Lyceum Square and its adjoining areas.
This will connect to the revamped Market Hall and Lyceum Theatre and create a space to be used for a wide range of regular events and cultural activities, while the town awaits other developments.
Board member councillor Jill Rhodes, leader of Crewe Town Council and Cheshire East Council cabinet member, said: “It is very encouraging to see the diverse mix of people on the Town Board working hard together to make sure the impact of new investment will lead to success that we can all see and feel.”
Crewe MP Dr Kieran Mullan, who also sits on the board, said: “The establishment of this team represents a crucial opportunity and I’ll be playing my part to secure more government funding and have a very real impact for local people, and ensure that Crewe has the best possible future ahead of it.”
He added: “There are no guarantees with this funding but all of us on the board and Cheshire East will do our utmost to make the case for much needed investment.”
Fellow board member Pastor David Edwards of the Lighthouse Centre, in Crewe, has a background in social work and working with young people in care.
His position on the board is driven by his desire to support everyone living in Crewe, but particularly those who are the most vulnerable in the town.
He said: “Since moving to Crewe 10 years ago, it has become my home-town, which I love and where I am passionate about joining with others to see the town reach its full potential.
“Being part of a successful Towns Fund bid for Crewe is about making projects and ideas a reality and contributing to the town’s vision for economic, social and environmental transformation and making a tremendous difference to the lives of the people of Crewe.” More information about the projects which have been shortlisted to be included in the Town Investment Plan will be announced in the coming weeks