Crewe Hub HS2 station

A vision to transform south Crewe will be put to the public later this month, writes Stephen Topping.

Members of Cheshire East Council’s strategic planning board were given a glimpse of the future for the area around Crewe railway station at a meeting as they endorsed the latest draft of the Crewe Hub area action plan.

It comes as the town gears up to welcome HS2, with hopes that five to seven high-speed trains an hour will eventually run from the Crewe Hub.

In the action plan, which will go to public consultation later this month, the council outlines how up to 3,700 new homes and 26,000 new jobs could be created around the station by 2040.

It includes five key areas for regeneration – starting with a new entrance for the railway station in Weston Road, alongside a new ‘local transport hub’ for buses and taxis, a 2,000-space multi-storey car park, offices, a hotel and conference facilities.

A ‘commercial hub’ is earmarked to the east of the station, featuring office space and up to 2,500sq m of retail floorspace, while a multi-storey car park could also feature.

Macon Way is marked up for a range of development, including offices and homes, while the locally-listed Crewe Arms hotel and Valley Brook would be preserved.

New businesses could also open in Gresty Road, while a new public square will be opened up to the north of Crewe Alexandra’s stadium and a bridge connecting the road to Weston Road is in the pipeline – but historic rail buildings in the area would be preserved.

Pedestrians and cyclists could also benefit from a new ‘green link’ between the station and the town centre along Mill Street, which itself could feature new housing development.

Tom Evans, neighbourhood planning manager at CEC, told councillors that creating green spaces and protecting the town’s rich heritage are two key priorities for the local authority.

He said: “We want a people-focused plan that makes people want to be in Crewe, want to locate here, want to move around on foot in Crewe.

“It’s not very green if you walk around Mill St and Weston Road at the minute, but hopefully with new development bring new opportunities for tree planting, opening up small parks and the like.

“Heritage is very, very important. Crewe is an old town, it is based on the railway, we certainly don’t want to lose that to glass and steel in the future.

“It’s really important for the character and development in the new area that we harp back to what has gone before.”

Councillors were also told that the regeneration plans should ‘complement, not compete with’ any town centre redevelopment or Grand Junction retail park.

Cllr Brian Roberts, Labour member for Crewe West, said the move was ‘very welcome’ – although he would have liked to have seen the plans at an earlier stage.

He said: “I think it is fair to say we could have done with it a lot earlier, and I get a feeling there will be a bit of ‘hurry up’ at times, and ‘hurry up’ doesn’t always produce the right decisions.

“I don’t want to see a repeat of what we have got in the town centre at the moment, where we have got abandoned buildings which have gone on and gone on because of delays with developers etc.

“We need to keep these areas vibrant, we don’t need an area of dereliction on our hands, and also what we don’t need is people jumping the gun and setting up operations that are going to restrict what we need.”

Cllr Patrick Redstone, Conservative member for Odd Rode, added that the action plan is ‘very exciting’ – but admitted it could be ‘a difficult trick to pull off’.

Subject to getting the green light from Cllr Toni Fox, cabinet member for planning, CEC will put the draft action plan to the public for consultation from July 22 to September 3.

One Comment

  1. Emma Norman says:

    Heritage is very very important! Are they having a laugh when this week they have knocked down the Crewe works wall that protected the railway works from getting bombed during the war due to them painting it to make it look like houses! Does it also mean Rail house will get knocked down in the future too?

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