BOROUGH chiefs will make a crucial £10 million funding bid to help transform Winsford town centre next week.

Cheshire West and Chester Council's cabinet is set to discuss the town's future on Wednesday, June 10, before making a bid for a slice of the Government's Future High Streets Fund (FHSF).

If successful, the council says it will then pump £11.7 million of its own money into the project, which will give Winsford town centre a complete makeover.

But if the bid is unsuccessful, CWAC officers say Winsford's regeneration will be much smaller in scale.

A report that will be presented to cabinet says: "Winsford has a strong case [for the FHSF bid] as it can clearly demonstrate the structural failings that have led to the decline of the town centre in recent years.

READ > The changes being made at Winsford Cross next week to keep staff and shoppers safe

"The FHSF is extremely important to the council’s ambition to renew and reshape Winsford town centre into a town centre that will serve the local community for the next 50 years.

"Without this funding, the council will only be able to make some limited investment in the town centre to make small and incremental improvements but it is unlikely to be the immediate transformational investment that will be possible with FHSF support."

The report also reveals five ways that Winsford would be transformed if the funding bid is successful:

  1. Access improvements, including pedestrian road crossings at Dene Drive and painting and lighting upgrades to existing underpass
  2. New commercial space space based on existing demand requirements from well-established national retailers, including around 30,000sq ft of new retail space and 3,000sq ft for food and drink outlets
  3. Significant public realm enhancement, including upgraded town square, new cycle storage, new library plaza, enhanced car park with tree planting and electric vehicle charging points
  4. An emerging events programme for the town's public spaces
  5. Refurbishment of Winsford Cross and Fountain Court (near the war memorial) to accommodate a traditional market, workspace, social and community uses.

Winsford Guardian:

A map showing the council's latest vision for Winsford. Image: CWAC/Leslie Jones Architecture

Part of the council's £11.7 million contribution would be funded by £4.1 million from the sale of land at Dene Drive, which is currently a car park and is the site where Aldi wants to build a new store, while a further £1.6 million could come from other developer contributions.

The report adds: "This proposal will significantly enhance the town centre. It will secure long-term commercial uses alongside community uses, quality public realm and an improved town centre environment.

"It will be the first step towards a town centre that Winsford residents can be proud of for future generations."

CWAC does urge some caution around the impact of coronavirus, suggesting that some tenants are 'currently in difficulty' due to Covid-19, but says this will be 'partly mitigated' by reducing the number of retail units in the centre and securing longer-term commercial units.