WINSFORDIANS are to get the chance to have their say on the future of their town this spring.

Cheshire West and Chester Council has stepped up work on a long-term plan for the town centre since last September, when it began working with consultants.

In that time, town planners have been gathering market intelligence to consider what type of businesses and properties could thrive in Winsford in the years to come, and how to get the best out of the town centre.

Cllr Brian Clarke, cabinet member for economic development and infrastructure, told cabinet members on Wednesday: “The key to future redevelopment will be ensuring that our plans are deliverable, credible and commercially viable.

“Our aim is to regenerate the town centre for future generations, and that is the biggest thing that came out of the Winsford neighbourhood plan.

“We want our shopping centre back, and we are going to get it.”

The local authority is currently talking to public sector bodies, businesses and stakeholders in the town centre to draw up ideas for regeneration.

It then intends to open consultation in the spring, with new ideas and options put forward for public debate, before a more concrete vision for the next 10 to 15 years is drawn up in the summer.

Cllr Clarke added that ‘good progress’ has been made on Winsford Cross in the year since CWAC purchased the shopping centre – with a cross-party working group meeting four times over that period to discuss the plans.

The Labour member for Wharton said: “The council priority in the first year was to address the operational and practical issues that had fallen behind due to the minimal investment by the previous owner.

Winsford Guardian:

“A significant amount of work has been on activities that, whilst essential, are not always highly visible.

“However, I am confident that these works have put the town centre on a more solid footing on which to move forward.”

Work done behind the scenes at Winsford Cross includes a raft of health and safety measures – including fire safety improvements, CCTV installation, asbestos management, repairing leaking roofs and carrying out a deep clean of the site.

CWAC has also begun collecting performance data from the site, while renewing leases and signing up new tenants – which Cllr Clarke insists is a ‘good sign’.

Cllr David Armstrong, Labour member for Swanlow and Dene and cabinet member for legal and finance, added that the town centre scheme fits in with wider regeneration plans for Winsford – including Town Park, Winsford Industrial Estate and investment in the town’s Warrington and Vale Royal College campus.

He said: “It has made a difference, there is a buzz about the town now which didn’t exist three or four years ago.

“The work that was initially started in Winsford was very much to enhance the lives of ordinary people and make things better for them, because this is where the real challenges were.”

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