Council prepares for Crewe Vision launch

Development consultants that will spearhead the development framework aimed at attracting investment to the south Cheshire town are expected to be announced shortly.

Around 20 firms applied for the consultancy role of Crewe Vision development executive under a contest run by Cheshire East Council and which closed in January.

A shortlist has been drawn up and the winning firm will be announced any day, according to Cllr Jamie Macrae, executive member for prosperity at Cheshire East Council.

Macrae added: "Crewe is extremely well placed in terms of connectivity, population and employment with assets such as Bentley, Manchester Metropiltian University's campus and the rail industry. The Crewe Vision plan is about maximising that potential."

The far-reaching Crewe Vision: All Change for Crewe plan, prepared by consultants SQW, includes several sizeable development opportunities:

Basford East and West, a combined total development opportunity of 370 acres, reserved for employment uses, set to be opened up by the planned Crewe Green Link Road which is yet to secure government funding.

Delamere Place, town centre retail scheme once led by Modus, since in administration. Modus gained consent in 2006 with joint venture partner Ciref, for 485,000 sq ft. Ciref refinanced five centres, including Crewe, with Aviva Commercial Finance. Ciref was renamed Redefine International in July, after adding a listing on South Africa's Johannesburg Stock Exchange to its AIM-listing in London. The scheme remains on hold.

Crewe Gateway: the council is working with Network Rail and Virgin on plans to realign the station, "turning it around" as Macrae put it, and appointing a developer to build retail. The former Royal Mail depot was acquired close to the site by the council recently to add to the development.

Housing: Macrae said up to 20,000 new homes could be built in and around the town in the coming years and major housebuilders had expressed interest in Crewe

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