Meanwhile uses for the site are now being explored. Credit: via planning documents

Cheshire East puts £48m Crewe regeneration on ice 

Rising costs associated with the pandemic, as well as the cancellation of HS2, have contributed to making the Royal Arcades mixed-use project unviable. 

Cheshire East Council will meet next week to determine the next steps for the £48m Crewe scheme, with the termination of a development agreement with Peveril Securities proposed. 

Cancelling the contract, agreed in 2020, means it would be “unlikely any similar development [would be] delivered on this site in the next five years”, according to a report to the council’s economic scrutiny committee. 

The report states that the leisure project, which features a bowling alley, cinema, and shops, is suffering from a significant viability gap and is not deliverable at present due to a variety of reasons. 

These reasons, according to the council, include: 

  • Double-digit inflation 
  • A decline in town centre investment values by some 20-25% 
  • Dwindling confidence among operators due to the cost-of-living crisis 

“Together, these are impacting heavily on the viability of commercially led leisure and retail developments, not just in Crewe, but across the UK,” the report states. 

Another blow to Crewe’s regeneration hopes came when the government announced the scrapping of HS2 north of Birmingham in October. 

The council is pursuing £11.2m from the government to make up for the impact cancelling the northern leg of the high-speed railway will have on the town. 

Any funding secured through this avenue could support the delivery of the Royal Arcades project, but none has been secured as yet. 

Cheshire East will continue to use the development site as a compound to support the ongoing delivery of phase one of the Royal Arcades project, which comprises a revamped bus station and a multistorey car park. 

That part of the scheme is due to complete next year, at which point, Cheshire East Council hopes to find some meanwhile uses for the site that “generate activity and footfall in the town centre as soon as possible”, said Cllr Nick Mannion, vice chair of Cheshire East Council’s economy and growth committee. 

“Three years ago, [the scheme] was fully viable, but across the UK, the viability of commercial-led leisure and retail developments is being met with challenge after challenge.  

“These challenges, which remain, were not foreseen, and there were major rises in costs over a very short period.” 

He added: “Despite these significant and ongoing challenges, our development partners Peveril Securities, and their development managers, Cordwell Property, have been proactively engaged with the council to identify ways of reducing this growing viability gap and explore other development options and ways of funding this. 

“However, the council recognises that due to the economic picture nationally, phase two cannot currently be delivered.”  

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Once again crewe is let down
When I was younger crewe use to be a good place to go on a Saturday afternoon just to look at the shops and market chicken rolls and cup off tea halfway
What a shame to see it now

By Anonymous

Who will use the .new multistorey car park?????

By Anonymous

I could have told you this would happen after HS2 was squashed. Now can you put The town centre back as it was please, as it’s a total disgrace and not deserved.!!!

By Anbermouse

A little common sense at last,already got a cinema/bowling alley and can’t sustain another of each,shops,gastro pub required .

By Norbert Drongo

I moved to Crewe in 1979 when I got married, the company I worked for for 29 years is gone and site demolished, same for my wife at BHS. She passed away last year and I cannot now see any reason why I should not sell up and move away from this disalutioned, broken promised, squallid, junk yard of a town. How much more down hill can it get!!

By Gary Gilbert

Proportionate decision made by CEC for once, scrapping HS2 may finally allow funds to be more fairly allocated across the borough.

By Cheshire East Resident

Funny how the only thing standing is a money making damn car park, like we need another!!! A complete joke!! Been promised changes to the town centre since we moved here 21years ago!! They’ve certainly changed it, to a derilict area or full of charity shops, vape shops and fast food cafes! Thank you very much Cheshire East.

By Benny Hill

If they really want people in the town centre then make the space a free car park.

By Local

Great, so we have a massive multi-storey car park and no shops ! Is there a single person who thinks that all the town needs is a bowling alley and cinema? The council just isn’t fit for purpose and wastes all the money we pay them.

By Steve

There will soon be an election for a new Cheshire East Councillor for the Crewe Central ward, recently vacated by Anthony Critchley who won it for Labour. Labour, with the support of the Independents are the ruling group at Cheshire East Council and will be leading on this non-development decision. Residents of Crewe Central will soon have the opportunity of expressing a view as to whether the Labour group are doing well or not. Not voting is almost like saying you are happy. If you are not happy with the development of Crewe say so; and if you don’t vote, don’t moan.

By Jethro

The multi-storey car park is a complete waste of money but that’s all the Council are bothered about making money from car parks in Crewe. Why don’t you think about the people who live in Crewe

By Anonymous

This is typical of Cheshire East council.If this development had started when it was supposed to,the costs would have been minimised and certain outlets would not have moved out,leaving us with a town centre that nobody wants to visit,but if they do at least they can have a car park floor to themselves.The council gambled on HS2 by buying up land,which will no doubt now be sold off at a loss.Perhaps they could recoup some money by allowing the TV programme Abandoned Engineering to include it in their next series.Roll on the elections.Shame Crewe isn’t in one of their more affluent areas.

By Barry Lloyd

As the town centre is dwindling to a ghost town, why don’t you try to bring the market town that it was , back to the town centre.
By maybe taking on the old m & s building and turning it into an indoor market and eatery. This would bring the two halves of our broken market back together. It could also be used for other events when the market is not trading. For example, a local makers market once a month on the opposite weeks to the outside one. The eatery could house small concessions like Burger king , pizza house, etc.. with a food hall for seating. This could then open all the week. After all the lifts and escalators and toilets are already in situ. Just a thought.

By Ann

Make the old M&S a Primark stop folk going out if town (Like Hanley or Chester) to shop a couple of proper cafe’s not coffee shops, some speciality shops shoes homewares etc etc watch the people come back.
Primark is your biggest pull.

By Louise Bayley

Whoever approved the sequencing of the project to have the multi storey car park built initially should hang their head in shame. If the shops and retail had been built first there would have been sufficient car park space to allow shoppers to use before completion of the multi storey. However, this is just another waste of money. Crewe’s problem in everything planned or for funds fought for has continued to use the Railway legacy of Crewe. This strategy is backward looking and proposals for the future need to be prioritised. Being from Leeds that city was originally connected with the clothing and manufacturing. When things changed they refocused and are now a thriving city with multi businesses including financial and even HQ for Channel 4. Councils now use the economic state as a reason for the problems. Just an excuse to blame others than themselves.

By John Ross

What Cheshire East council aren’t telling anyone is that once the multi opens the others will eventually close to make way for housing etc,delamere st will be for council employees.

By Norbert Drongo

It certainly would make a lot of sense to complete the project, any delay will certainly increase the costs exponentially.

By Colin

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