The council acquired Winsford Cross Shopping Centre in 2018 and drew up a masterplan for the area

Winsford pushes forward with £20m regeneration

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Cheshire West & Chester Council is progressing its bid for Winsford to receive £10m from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund, confirming plans to contribute £11.7m to the town’s regeneration itself.

An indicative business case for Winsford has been submitted to the department for housing, communities and local government and is due to be validated this month.

According to a report to Cheshire West & Chester’s cabinet, the council believes Winsford “has a strong case as it can clearly demonstrate the structural failings that have led to the decline of the town centre in recent years.”

In order to back the scheme, the council is proposing to use £4m from the sale of the Dene Drive car park to Aldi, as well as £4m from its 2024 capital programme. There is already £2m allocated to the project in the current capital programme funding cycle.

The council has been working up more detailed plans in consultation with local community groups, and is proposing a series of interventions.

Work in Winsford would include improving pedestrian crossings, as well as “significant” public realm enhancement including upgraded town square and library plaza.

There would be 30,000 sq ft of new retail space created, and 3,000 sq ft for food and beverage use. There would also be 11,000 sq ft of existing shopping mall units converted into flexible uses, including a market or workspace.

The cabinet report said: “This proposal will significantly enhance the town centre. It will secure long term commercial uses alongside community uses, quality public realm and an improved town centre environment. It will be the first step towards a town centre that Winsford residents can be proud of for future generations.”

Schemes put forward to the Future High Streets Fund need to be co-funded between the Government and the local authority. Around 100 locations are already on the longlist for the funding.

Cheshire West & Chester Council bought Winsford Cross Shopping Centre and several other sites from Winsford Cross Developments, part of Maloneview, in 2018 for £19m.

The council, in partnership with Mid Cheshire Development Board, then released an early-stage masterplan for the town last year, suggesting a mixed-use focus, including scaling back redundant retail and bringing forward leisure and community uses, along with improved and interlinked public spaces.

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A Cheshire council deciding to invest in a Cheshire town must beg the Central Planning Committee of the Royal National Ministry of Streets in London to get back some of their own tax money. Why?

By James Yates