Cheshire East Council’s cabinet will next week be asked to approve spending to take the £41.6m North West Crewe Package towards a planning application in spring 2018.
One of the key benefits of the project is that it will unlock a number of housing and employment sites allocated in the borough’s long-awaited, and still potentially contentious, Local Plan. As the report to cabinet by head of strategic infrastructure Chris Hindle notes:
“The housing sites that would be opened up would make a significant contribution to maintaining the council’s five-year housing supply and therefore enable the effective management of any planning applications for land not allocated in the Local Plan.”
Hindle’s report confirms that a bid for £5m from the National Productivity Investment Fund has been successful, but must be spent by March 2020, while a further contribution could come from the Housing Infrastructure Fund – the outcome of a £10m bid is expected soon, and would need to be spent by 2021. Developer contributions would, in time, make up some of the remainder.
The works are included in the local authority’s infrastructure delivery plan and comprise a north-south spine road, the realignment of Smithy Lane, an east-west link road from the A530 to the spine road, and a series of junction improvements.
If approved, the project would be delivered in three phases, with the spine road, Smithy Lane and junction work to be tackled first in a £20m programme.
A total of 850 homes are earmarked at the Leighton West site and 500 at Leighton, both classed as “strategic site allocations” by Cheshire East. Other areas where development would be enabled by the road project include Sydney Road, Broughton Road and Crewe Green.
The sites also make up a key part of Crewe’s contribution to the HS2 Constellation partnership, and would provide a new access route into the important Leighton Hospital and support the expansion plans of key employer Bentley Motors.