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Saturday 7 January 2012

Special delivery boosts All Change for Crewe


Cheshire East Council’s Strategic Planning Board has given the green light to a multi-million pound project that will start the overhaul of Crewe Station and the redevelopment of the adjoining Royal Mail site.

This will begin the process of creating an iconic 21st century gateway to the town.

Councillors voted in favour of the application that kick-starts the first phase of an ambitious wider landmark scheme that will transform this part of Crewe. It includes:

· A new surface-level car park of about 240 spaces;

· Improved facilities for taxis;

· A new area for people to pick up and drop off their family and friends;

· New ticket machines and passenger information displays;

· Reopening the pedestrian subway linking the new facility straight into platforms one to five and six to 11; and

· A new commercial development site to provide a business opportunity for activities, which will be ancillary to the station.

The scheme was given a boost after the Council and its partner Network Rail were successful in their bid for £6.177m from the Government’s £100m rail stations improvement fund. The announcement was made at the end of November.

Cheshire East Council and Network Rail own the land. In a bold move, the Council bought the landmark former Royal Mail site in Crewe for £2.75m. The 4.5-acre Weston Road site became vacant when Royal Mail relocated its sorting offices.

The site is seen as a prime spot for a landmark development as part of ambitious plans to redevelop Crewe Rail Station. The Council will continue to work with rail industry partners to deliver further investment to create an iconic 21st century gateway to the town.

The project is central to the Council-backed ambitious plans to regenerate and revitalise the town centre and surrounding area. This vision is called ‘All Change for Crewe’.

Councillor Jamie Macrae, Cabinet member with responsibility for prosperity, said: “This decision is excellent news and a vote of confidence in our plans to transform this historic station.

“A revitalised rail hub is critical to boosting the town’s visitor economy and its attractiveness to business.

“The scheme is a real milestone in our 20-year All Change for Crewe project. We hope it will act as a springboard to attracting further investment from Government and the rail industry to achieve Cheshire East’s ultimate ambition for the redevelopment of the station.”

Network Rail’s route managing director Jo Kaye said: “The station is used by three million people a year and it has long been recognised that there is a need for additional car parking, because more and more people are choosing to travel by train.

“The extra spaces created and the new retail outlets will bring even more people to the station for commuting, business and leisure travel – all of which will help grow the economy of Crewe. When the work is completed, passengers will have the facilities they have come to expect from a major station on one of the busiest rail routes in the country.”

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