Cheshire East Council is to move its action plan for the area around Crewe station to the next stage of consultation, which will see plans revealed to the public in February and March.
The local authority is seeking to put in place a robust framework for development, mindful that its Local Plan, while recognising the importance of Crewe station as a transport hub, does not plan directly for HS2 and its implications.
The council’s wish is that proposals that come forward “can be prepared quickly and efficiently without the risk of issues far outside Crewe sidetracking the programme”.
In the autumn, Cheshire East, which continues to campaign for a full HS2 station for Crewe, held a four-week “issues” consultation to help inform the development strategy, which it refers to as a stepping stone to the “publication plan”.
The key policy principles for C-SHAAP – the Crewe Station Hub Area Action Plan – include:
- Improving accessibility to the Crewe Hub Station
- Facilitating transport interchange
- Improving linkages between the town Centre and station
- Maximising the opportunities derived from 5-7 trains per hour
- Integrating development around the station with the rest of Crewe
- Safeguarding Crewe’s railway & built heritage
The strategy sub-divides the plan into six potential development parcels for which spatial policies and principles are drawn up.
Foremost amongst these are: Crewe Commercial Hub / Station Central, including The Weston Road gateway, which will see the creation of a new main entrance to the station, alongside supporting facilities and transport interchange.
Opposite this will be the new Crewe commercial district – a business location capitalising on the enhanced connectivity afforded by the upgraded station. This area, says the report compiled for councillors, “will be characterised by landmark buildings and higher density development”.
North West Link: a revamped commercial and residential area focussing on a direct link between Nantwich Road and the town centre via Mill Street bridge – it is in this area that a retail-led development was last month approved by CEC. Attention will be given to preserving and integrating heritage assets in this area.
Gresty Road Gateway: this area will safeguard a potential future pedestrian entrance directly into the station from the Gresty Road side, with scope for additional development to complement the retained Crewe Alexandra stadium and improved public realm.
As HS2 is likely to see a marked increase in passenger numbers using the station, accessibility is also on the agenda. The strategy proposes a “corridor of exploration” for a new high capacity road bridge located to the south of Crewe station, carrying through-traffic away from the congested station front.
JBA Consulting has worked with CEC on the proposals, while Mott MacDonald has been engaged on the bridge project, recommending a multiple-span bridge linking Gresty Road in the west to Weston Road on the east, with up to three pies within the railway corridor. No tracks need be realigned as part of the preferred proposal. Options are put forward for either a truss, cable-stay or bow-string arch bridge.
Alongside the bridge part of the transport plan, Nantwich Road could be amended to improve the environment for pedestrians, with the ratio of pavement to road being changed.
CEC’s strategic planning board meets on 30 January.