Mill Street View Of Clowes Scheme

Crewe retail scheme faces second refusal

Clowes Developments has said it is “surprised and disappointed” after Cheshire East planners recommended its retail project in Crewe for refusal for a second time, citing a lack of engagement from the council.

Clowes Developments (North West), working with architect Corstorphine + Wright and planning consultancy Plan A, has submitted a hybrid application for the 8.9-acre site at Mill Street and Lockitt Street, seeking detailed consent for retail and outline consent for up to 70 homes.

The site is currently occupied by single-storey industrial buildings, sitting next to and behind a Wickes store, with the developer proposing the retail parking to front Mill Street behind a landscaped verge, with the retail behind that and the housing to the site’s rear, close to the railway lines that bound the site. A mixed-use proposal was approved in outline for the site in 2013.

As with the 2018 application, the proposal includes two retail units, with Lidl and B&M lined up to occupy 24,000 sq ft and 23,000 sq ft respectively, and a drive-thru coffee shop. To this has been added a tree-lined route through the residential area and more landscaping.

Among the reasons given for refusal last year were the proposals’ design and access between the railway station and town centre. Changes made to the scheme include a re-siting of the coffee shop, design changes to reflect railway heritage in the retail units, which now feature a canopy supported by timber arches along the front, and increasing the affordable element of the housing from 30% to 100% affordable, with Trafford Housing Trust lined up as partner. The make-up of the residential element has changed from mixed housing to 60 apartments in three blocks and 10 townhouses. The plans in general were positively received at consultation.

Despite the changes, planning officers described the proposals as “car-dominated,“ and not making any reference to the existing character and heritage of the area. Officers noted that while the proposal is a “slight improvement,” the pockets of landscaping offer “little useful open space,” with the space in the residential part failing to meet the minimum set out in its Local Plan. Although the drive-thru coffee shop is relocated, officers believe that the site will be dominated by parked cars, not offering the permeability between the station, town centre and Grand Junction retail park that the local authority desires.

One of the key areas of contention is the Mill Street frontage. The applicant’s view is that customers don’t want to park out of view behind stores, but the council wants a more active frontage and suggested a reconfiguration of the site in pre-application discussions. Officers also record concerns over the increased volume of housing and queried the need for a coffee shop.

A spokesman for Clowes Developments (North West) said: “We’re surprised and disappointed that Cheshire East Council officers are recommending refusal of our planning application for a retail and 100% affordable housing development on derelict land at Mill Street. Our proposed development is in line with Cheshire East’s Local Plan, which allocates the site for precisely the type of development we have applied for.

“We believe that there is significant local support for our proposals, and Crewe Town Council has also suggested that it is minded to support the proposal subject to a number of minor changes. Following this feedback, we contacted Cheshire East Council to state that we are preparing revised plans and to request a meeting to discuss the amendments suggested by the Town Council. That meeting has not happened, nor is it scheduled to happen, despite our request. Instead, the Council is pushing this to planning committee with a recommendation to refuse.”

The committee meets on Wednesday 9 January.


Visualisation of the proposed scheme, with the existing Wickes store at the bottom of the residential part to the left

Your Comments

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Forgotten to put any trees in the car park again

By Anonymous

what is the matter with council they have killed the town with parking charges with bm and Lidl there is a chance of people to come and shop in Crewe they don’t even want that

By anonymous

What is wrong with this council ,the land is a disgrace full of rubish the gypies have already occupied the site what are they after ,just get on with it ,or will it be like the rest of the town forever run down ,i have lived here all my life and dont want to go into my own town i go to nantwich .

By J roberts

I’m sick to the back teeth of this council, they do nothing to help an already run down town centre, The town centre is an absolute disgrace with all the boarded up shops.
The regeneration of the town is supposedly starting this summer but they will come up with more excuses for the work not to start.
I hope sincerely hope that none of these so called councillors come knocking on my door looking for support in any election campaign .
They should be ashamed of themselves regarding their part in running the town into the ground.
Start putting things into action Cheshire East and local councillors instead of sitting around a table drinking tea and coffee and refusing virtually every planning application that comes through the door.
We as residents are paying your salaries, start earning your money instead of lining your own pockets.

By Ray Bithall

Please lets get this area tidied is nothing but a dumping ground at present.a ugly multistory carpark was agreed which i’m sure the locals are against.Planners do what the locals want.

By Anonymous

As a local resident I support this proposal 100%. Cheshire East are running Crewe into the ground, of course there’s a car park, where would shopper’s park without it. There’s no trees there now so why insist on them for this project. If this was planned by Cheshire East it would get planning permission but never happen, like all the other so called plans for the town centre.

By Lynda Noden

Shame council have to spoil things we need more shops crewe is dead

By A higgins

B&m and Lidl isn’t gonna make people come to Crewe. I have a b&m 3 miles down the road in Nantwich. And another in town. Then 2 home and bargains in town and the retail park. The traffic is a joke as it is in Crewe we don’t need anything else crammed in. Build off the new a500. People can’t get there? Tough walk to the one in town. That’s what they do in Nantwich for Sainsbury’s

By None

It sounds like most of the people on the council do not live within the area, and therefore don’t see on a daily basis what’s obvious to most of us… This town has a railway heritage, and quite rightly this should be kept. But what has a run down wasteland and gypsies got to do with a railway heritage. Let them build on it for crying out loud

By Steve Allen

Let’s not forget this is a planning committee that has brought us a ghost town of a town centre, gridlock on Earle Street to Grand Junction Retail Park, unbelievable incompetence at Weston Road/ Crewe Station roundabout. And just to round things off overuse of traffic light at the leisure park. Big round of applause to you all. Sarcasm is sometimes not the lowest form of wit

By Anonymous

cheshire east need a reality check . there is no heritage to mix with they have already knocked it all down . agree we dont need the coffee drive through would prefer a burger king . lidl and bm will fill the site .and new houses can only give trade to crewe . if i was lidl i would wait till aldi leave the junction and move in.there . if the council dont give permission lidl will move elsewhere .

By soulboy

Cheshire east council are a joke, not in line with the heritage of the town that was taken away years ago when they covered all the cobbled streets away. Nantwich or Sandbach residents would have never have stood for it. Crewe Town is a joke its embarrassing to walk round and see and to say you live there. Come on Cheshire East give us the real reason for the refusal. We have been promised a new town for years and this area will unfortunately be the same for years to come

By Andy

Cheshire east just a joke tell them to come and live here where everyone tips rubbish I have lived here 72 years they should be sent packing and stripped of all there wealth

By TonyScragg

It looks to me like the council are trying to downgrade Crewe.The town centre is already a ghost town!

By Anthony hope

We should be providing space for small traders not the usual boring trading companies that seem to be in league with planners and are gradually stifling small businesses

By Jan

Just noticed the panels for and against for the redevelopment of Mill Street……. Surprise surprise, the against are mostly Tories that don’t live around here ……. They seem to be aiming to create a party that has absolutely no links whatsoever with the will of the people. They’ve tried to talk down a reasonable scheme to help put Crewe back on the map……….. I have no political slant whatsoever, whoever seems to be in governance makes a hash of it, but the blue half need to climb out of their ivory towers and think of the people who they are making decisions for

By Steve Allen

I passed through crewe a couple of years ago .I live down south I thought it was a really nice place but you have got to keep your promise regeneration of the town centre and get on with hs2 make it a place where everyone wants to live by the way lidl and aldi are booming

By Tim smith

A truly uninspired piece of dross. It is right its refused by whatever means can be justified. A few trees will not make it any better but would at lease hide it. As for the arches. Lets not play at stage sets and bolt on cheap tat. Lets just have some good design.

By zoro

Charge for car parking to keep customers away. Clever!

By James Yates

Looks like Clowes Developments have cut down the mature deciduous trees on the beautiful grassy walkway in Mill street BEFORE full planning permission has been granted for the retail development. This was just days after a Government announcement about the benefits of trees and and open green spaces in urban areas for the people living and working in those areas. It seems that Clowes are putting profit before human well being. There are no trees on the artists’ impression billboard of the proposed developement.

By john craven