Nantwich High Street, town centre, set for facelift

Nantwich has the second lowest rate of vacant shops in Cheshire East, writes Stephen Topping.

But neighbouring Crewe along with Congleton have the highest rates of empty retail units, new figures have revealed.

Cheshire East Council’s strategic planning board was presented with the borough’s authority monitoring report for 2017-18 yesterday (February 27).

It shows Knutsford had the lowest vacancy rate in Cheshire East of 3.3% for 2017-18, followed by Nantwich at 4.4%.

Meanwhile, Crewe town centre had a vacancy rate of 25.8% in 2017-18 – an increase from 20.9% in 2016-17 – with 59 empty shops in town.

Congleton had a vacancy rate of 18.2% in 2017-18 with 55 empty shops – although this fell from 19.1% and 58 empty shops the year before.

The towns were the only two in the borough to have a vacancy rate higher than the national average of 11.2% in 2017-18.

Adrian Fisher, head of strategic planning at Cheshire East Council, said: “With the [Grand Junction] retail in park in Crewe you can perhaps see why with Crewe town centre – although there is redevelopment on its way.

“Congleton perhaps is less apparent as to why that vacancy rate is so high.”

Adrian Fisher, cheshire east council

Adrian Fisher

The report was discussed a couple of hours after the same committee rejected plans for a retail park in Sandbach – with councillors raising concerns about the possible impact it could have on the town centre.

Cllr Janet Jackson, Labour, is a councillor in Macclesfield – which had a vacancy rate of 9.5% in 2017-18 and 53 empty shops.

In opposing the Sandbach application, she said: “I have seen the effect on a town centre which an out-of-town retail development can make.

“In Macclesfield we had a really vibrant town centre and once Handforth Dean was given permission, that was the death knell for our town, and it has never recovered.”

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, said: “While our town centres compare well, we recognise that retailers continue to face significant challenges and that we need to continue to support them.

“Changing behaviours and trends, driven by a range of economic, demographic, social and technological factors, are affecting the prosperity and vibrancy of high streets up and down the country.

“However, this council is fully committed to doing what is within our power to help our high streets survive and thrive and we are continuing to progress a number of initiatives and schemes for our town centres – many of which represent significant investment.”

Vacancy rates for towns and large villages across Cheshire East:

Alderley Edge – 6.1 per cent in 2017-18, no data in 2016-17
Alsager – 8.4 per cent in 2017-18, 7.6 per cent in 2016-17
Congleton – 18.2 per cent in 2017-18, 19.1 per cent in 2016-17
Crewe – 25.8 per cent in 2017-18, 20.9 per cent in 2016-17
Handforth – 6.7 per cent in 2017-18, 9.3 per cent in 2016-17
Knutsford – 3.3 per cent in 2017-18, 5.4 per cent in 2016-17
Macclesfield – 9.5 per cent in 2017-18, 11.4 per cent in 2016-17
Middlewich – 10.3 per cent in 2017-18, 6.7 per cent in 2016-17
Nantwich – 4.4 per cent in 2017-18, 2.8 per cent in 2016-17
Poynton – 7.5 per cent in 2017-18, 7.9 per cent in 2016-17
Sandbach – 5.3 per cent in 2017-18, 7.7 per cent in 2016-17
Wilmslow – 9.3 per cent in 2017-18, 9.2 per cent in 2016-17

CHESHIRE EAST TOTAL – 10.2 per cent in 2017-18 (10.6 per cent in 2016-17)
NATIONAL AVERAGE – 11.2 per cent in 2017-18 (12 per cent in 2016-17)


  1. Alan machin says:

    Redevelopment to what?

    Away with the fairies if they think even more shops are wanted

    Turn it over to housing makes more sense

    The area lends itself more to market stalls than expensive to run shops

  2. Andrew says:

    I notice CEC ignore the fact they kicked all the retailers out of Crewe town centre then havent done anything about redevelopment

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