Cheshire East Council has relaunched the All Change for Crewe strategy for economic growth for the next 20 years, 18 months after its first launch.
In March 2012 the authority launched a 24-page prospectus with a list of development opportunities including a retail makeover of the town centre. The plan was drawn up by an advisory team led by GVA and Tom Russell, former chief executive of New East Manchester.
The latest strategy is nearly double the size at 50 pages and contains five priorities:
- developing a world-class hub for automotive and rail
- making the town a UK centre of excellence in employer-led skills
- positioning Crewe as a market leader in renewable energy
- spearhead a £500m infrastructure programme for the town
- and prepare key land assets to support future economic growth
Consultation on the vision for Crewe closed at the end of 2010. To date work has started on improvements to the train station, funding was secured for Crewe Green Link Road and Bentley Motors received government finance for new products and training but the rundown shopping core is still awaiting investment and there are persistent legal challenges around housing expansion.
Cllr Michael Jones, leader of the council, told Place North West this morning: "All the major retail developers and investors with interests in the town centre are at the table discussing options for reinvigorating the shopping and leisure facilities and big plans will definitely be announced very soon, hopefully by the end of the year."
Jones said the latest version of All Change for Crewe was an "advancement and upgrade" of the March 2012 edition, reflecting a "new leader [Jones became leader in May 2012] and new direction", focused more on engineering skills, including a proposed university technical college.
Jones added that the board of All Change for Crewe was currently under review and a new chairman might be selected soon to replace John Lea who "was very busy building a business", Mornflake Oats.