Clearance of the vacant shops at the Cheshire town’s Royal Arcade site has begun, as the long-awaited £48m town centre project takes shape.
In October, Cheshire East Council confirmed that a development agreement had been signed for the Royal Arcade scheme, which will include a new bus station with an enclosed passenger waiting area; a 400-space multi-storey car park; and leisure and retail anchored by an eight-screen Empire cinema.
The agreement between Cheshire East and its development partner Peveril Securities is intended to pave the way for a planning application. Peveril, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bowmer + Kirkland, is managing the demolition works directly.
Scaffolding is also being installed around the site’s clock tower to enable it to be safely demolished, with the whole site due to be cleared by spring 2021.
Cllr Nick Mannion, cabinet member for environment and regeneration, said: “Pre-demolition works have been taking place over the past few weeks to prepare for the site’s physical demolition, but it is a hugely significant moment to see machinery on site.
“Our vision and that of our partners has always been to give the people and businesses of Crewe a town to be proud of and it is great news that we are now that one step closer to realising its great potential.”
Cheshire East has been advised throughout the two centre strategy and development agreement process by Cushman & Wakefield, with Browne Jacobson also advising on the legal aspects of the development agreement.
The clock tower is to be demolished, with the clock itself dismantled by a specialist team before being transferred to the Crewe Heritage Trust, where it will be stored for potential reuse in the future.
As of 5 November, the public will not be able to access the bus station via the walkway through the Royal Arcade site, and will be asked to use an alternative route via Tower Way/Delamere Street.
Cheshire East bought the site in April 2015 for £6m from Redefine International, and two years later appointed a joint venture between Peveril and development manager Cordwell Property as preferred partner. Initial hopes of completion by the end of 2020 were adjusted as deals to secure vacant possession on existing spaces dragged, only completing at the end of 2019.