Blacon Parade prepared for approval

Cheshire West & Chester's executive cabinet will be recommended to approve an £18m plan on Wednesday to transform The Parade area of Blacon.

In partnership with Chester & District Housing Trust and NHS Western Cheshire, the plans will ensure provision of a landmark health and enterprise centre, retail, 35 new homes and an enhanced public realm.

If agreed, the plans will see the council commit £2.5m in cash to the project along with £1m in land and assets.

A report by director of regeneration and culture, Charlie Seward, and director of resources, Julie Gill, outlines the vision for the Blacon Parade. The report describes the scheme as "a new town centre for Blacon".

Cllr Herbert Manley, executive member for prosperity, said: "Together with partners we are working hard to make these ambitious plans a reality.

"If approved the project will be fit for the 21st century and we believe such a transformation of The Parade will not only improve the local economy but will be welcomed by local residents and businesses alike.

"As well as providing new housing, an improved retail offering and the rejuvenation visually of the area, the plans for a health and enterprise centre would allow local residents to take much more control over the way that their services are provided."

The partners could also look to secure £1.3m from the European Regional Development Fund for the community and enterprise centre. The health provision would include primary care, community and social care services and new services to be delivered including nursing, general practice and mental health.

Redevelopment of the parade will also tie in with the creation of an asset management company which will run assets in the area and will look to integrate a full range of neighbourhood services, revenue streams and assets, currently managed by a range of organisations.

The council said the company will enable residents to shape and control the way services are planned, paid for and delivered whilst taking responsibility for their own well-being and quality of life.

The council said discussions will continue between the partners and the nearby Delta Centre, retailers and the local community centre, to ensure accommodation throughout the works.

Cheshire West & Chester Council has set aside £150,000 for the continuance of youth provision in the area while CDHT has already undertaken extensive work with local young people.

The council said sources of funding to be committed to the scheme include:

  • CDHT £5.9m
  • Cheshire West & Chester £2.5m
  • Developer £3.3m
  • NHS Western Cheshire £5.35m
  • Grant Contributions:
  • HCA £400,000
  • ERDF £1.3m

English Partnerships previously funded a masterplan for The Parade, an area of shops, houses and community facilities in Blacon considered run down by the council.

Following a downturn in the housing market, there was shortfall of funding to continue its redevelopment and EP was replaced by the Homes & Communities Agency which had other commitments.

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I think if you pedestrianise the front of the parade shops would make a huge improvement to the area. This would put an end to all the car’s van’s ect parking up the raised curbs and encorage people to use the carpark provided thus making the area alot safer for children and older folk.

By Mr J Parry