Cheshire East Council approved strategies to support the revitalisation of nine town centres across the borough - including Wilmslow and Handforth, subject to appropriate funding being identified, at a meeting of its economy and growth committee on Tuesday, 17th January.
Following on from the Crewe town centre regeneration delivery framework for growth and the Macclesfield town centre strategic regeneration framework, the council has now developed 'town centre vitality plans' (TCVPs) for the Cheshire East towns of Alsager, Congleton, Handforth, Knutsford, Middlewich, Nantwich, Poynton, Sandbach and Wilmslow.
The plans have been co-created by Cheshire East Council officers, town councils, local stakeholders and external advisers and they established an agreed set of priority actions for each town centre. Any actions will be taken forward as and when opportunities arise, and resources allow.
Known as 'town centre vitality plans' (TCVPs), each individual plan has the objective of providing a clear sense of direction for supporting town centre vitality and viability. It could include initiatives, which do not require significant funding, but which could be taken forward by local volunteers and/or businesses.
The Council feels that when opportunities to apply for funding for town centre improvements arise, such as from central government, it is beneficial to have clear town centre plans already in place to support bids for funding.
The town centre vitality plans include the following priority actions:
1: Deliver Strong Cycling and Walking Connections, Including from the Garden Village into the Centre of Handforth (PRIORITY)
2: Enhance the Street Environment Along Wilmslow Road
3: Making more of the Paddock and Meriton Park
4: Raising Handforth's Profile
5: Mobilising the Business Community
6: Making more of Community Assets
7: Public Transport
1: Strengthening green space and links (PRIORITY)
2: Creating more opportunities to dwell in the centre (PRIORITY)
3: Improving the town's core
4: Creating stronger gateways into the Centre
5: Expanding the events programme
6: Raising the Centre's profile
7: Mobilising the business community
8: Making more of community assets
9: Better management of Movement
10: Embracing cycling
Councillor Nick Mannion, chair of Cheshire East Council's economy and growth committee, said: "We have enjoyed excellent levels of engagement with many people who have interests in all of the places we are supporting – getting that insight from those people who know the towns best has been invaluable.
"I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who got involved with the consultation process. Their suggestions have really helped to shape these plans.
"Town centres across the UK are continuing to face unprecedented challenges. Changes in how we buy products and services, and the growth of online shopping has increased competition for town centre businesses.
"We are a predominantly rural economy, so it is vital that we do everything we can to support our smaller towns, which many of our residents are more likely to call upon for their needs. All of the towns that these plans support are very individual, so it was important that they reflected that."
The town centre vitality plans identify projects and initiatives that should be focused on when sources of funding become available, with potential opportunities including the council's Shared Prosperity Fund allocation from government.
They do not commit the council to funding any initiatives or projects at this stage.
Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.
Embracing cycling - fine, but make sure that they are taxed and insured.
The amount of tax you have to pay depends on how much CO2 your car emits. The more CO2 your car emits, the more you have to pay. So you could call it an emissions tax if you wanted to. Vehicle tax is calculated as follows:
First year rates
This varies depending on the CO2 emissions
Payments range from £0 for 0g/km CO2 emissions, to £2,135 for cars that emit over 255g/km CO2
Standard year (second and subsequent years)
£135 – £145
Any car with a list value above £40,000
This payment varies, dependent on whether your car is petrol or diesel (£465), electric (£320) or alternative* (£455)