Cheshire East’s leading rival political parties have united behind an ambitious vision for the regeneration of Crewe.
The leaders of the local Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties joined the Mayor of Crewe to sign a historic ‘Concordat’, in a public show of joint support for moves to turn Crewe and the surrounding area into an ‘economic powerhouse’ by 2031.
The landmark signing, at Crewe’s newly revamped Lyceum Square, was witnessed by councillors and Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson.
Over the past year, consultants appointed to advise the Council, working with key stakeholders, have identified what they believe needs to be done to ‘unlock’ the huge potential of the town and surrounding area and turn it into a leading player in Britain’s 21st century economy.
This vision is called ‘All Change for Crewe’.
Now political rivals have joined forces in a landmark move to help make this ambitious vision a reality.
The Concordat was signed by Conservative Cheshire East Council Leader Councillor Wesley Fitzgerald, Labour Group Leader Cllr Dorothy Flude, Liberal Democrat Group Leader Cllr Ainsley Arnold (signed on his behalf by Deputy Leader Cllr Rod Fletcher) and Mayor of Crewe Cllr Jacquie Weatherill.
It says: “We, the undersigned, hereby commit our wholehearted support to the regeneration and development of Crewe, as set out in the ‘All Change for Crewe’ reports.
“We recognise the clear evidence of why regeneration is needed and the tangible opportunities on which to build a Crewe that will be more productive and positive for all its residents, businesses and visitors.
“We fully recognise Crewe as one of Cheshire East’s spatial priorities through a range of short, medium and long-term initiatives and strategies.”
Cllr Fitzgerald said: “The signing of this Concordat demonstrates the determination across the main political parties of the council to achieve an ambitious and lasting regeneration of Crewe.
“This unity of purpose is highly significant, highly unusual and truly historic – and shows the importance which all the major political parties place on this hugely-important project. “It also shows, beyond doubt, that the people and political leaders of Crewe mean business.”
Cllr Fletcher said: “As someone who has worked in Crewe for over 30 years I’m highly delighted that we are moving forward and I hope that we can progress this regeneration as quickly as possible.”
Cllr Flude said: “The ‘Vision for Crewe’ is a very important document. As we can see, it is important to the people of Crewe and it’s also important that the people of Crewe attend the public engagement roadshows to give their feedback and opinions.
“Crewe is Cheshire East’s most important town. It is the town with the youngest population, the town with excellent road and rail links and the town with much of Cheshire East’s industry and diverse business parks.
“It is important that we look to the future with the development of Basford and the revamping of the railway station, which will bring a much-needed vibrancy to businesses and the whole ethos of the town.”
Mayor Weatherill said: “This Concordat is highly significant and a cause for real optimism. It shows the strength and depth of commitment across the political spectrum and whole community to revitalising both Crewe’s economy and its attractiveness as a place to live. This is a landmark day.”
Consultants have identified how the Council and other partner agencies can unlock what they see as the unique potential of Crewe over the next 20 years.
The focus is on increasing economic productivity and performance, which is underpinned by five key strategic themes, which are to:
● Radically improve strategic transport links and create a state-of-the-art broadband internet network;
● Develop a more diversified ‘knowledge economy’ that attracts and keeps hi-tech firms and skilled workers;
● Enhance the attractiveness of Crewe as a place to live and work – including boosting schools and local transport and expanding the town’s population;
● Develop key underutilised sites – including the Basford East investment site, Crewe rail station and the town centre;
● Improve the town’s public image and leadership.
A revamped Crewe train station and town centre and the completion of the Crewe Green Link Road will be at the heart of several major projects planned to revitalise the town and the surrounding region.
Attracting more educated, skilled and ambitious workers to Crewe would boost the economy and be central to plans for the town to become a dynamic regional centre by 2031. The aim is to increase the economy by £850m per year by 2031.
Cheshire East has been holding a month of public engagement events and has an online questionnaire to seek your views on what the priorities for the regeneration of Crewe should be. And there is still time for you to play your part – before the closing date for feedback, on December 6.
The final round of public consultation events will be held at:
● South Cheshire College, on Monday, November 29, from 11am to 1pm;
● Crewe Railway Station, on Tuesday, November 30, from 8am to 11am;
● South Cheshire College, on Wednesday, December 1, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm;
● Crewe Library, on Thursday, December 2, from 2pm to 4pm.
For further information, visit the council’s website at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/allchangeforcrewe and complete our online questionnaire by the deadline of December 6.