COUNCILLORS are hoping they can take a ‘once in a generation’ chance to transform Winsford town centre.

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s cabinet gave the go-ahead to make a £10 million bid for the Government’s Future High Streets Fund on Wednesday.

If successful, CWAC will pump a further £11.7 million into the project to give Winsford a ‘world class’ town centre, but if the bid fails the town’s regeneration plans will be much smaller in scale.

Cllr Nathan Pardoe, Labour CWAC member for Wharton, told cabinet: “Winsford is my hometown, and I know that many view us as the poor relation to our neighbours. Times are changing, Winsford is now on the up.

Winsford Guardian:

"Winsford deserves its fair share of funding and these plans represent a realistic and deliverable plan is a post-Covid landscape.

"These plans will give Winsford a brighter future, and we must ensure that Winsford gets the once in a generation radical change that we have promised residents.”

Consultants for the project have drawn up plans for how Winsford town centre could be overhauled if the bid is successful.

They include a new market, which Cllr Pardoe described as the ‘jewel in the crown’, along with community facilities and improved outdoor spaces.

Retail floorspace would be cut down, with a more modern emphasis on other town centre uses, such as food, drink and events.

Cllr Mike Baynham, Conservative CWAC member for Over and Verdin, said: “It will deliver a smaller town centre that will hopefully be fit for purpose, as long as we engage with retailers and residents.

Winsford Guardian:

“Working with our MP, hopefully we can deliver the Future High Streets Fund that we need, and then we can put it to the residents and hopefully bring those on board with us.”

Councillors from outside Winsford also spoke in support of the scheme, including Conservative Cllr Lynn Riley, who called for the work to be ‘iconic’ to reflect Winsford’s ‘unique national significance’.

Cllr Louise Gittins, CWAC’s Labour leader, added: “We need to have something that is really outstanding – a legacy that everyone can be proud of.”

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Part of the £11.7 million will be funded from the sale of the Dene Drive car park, which has raked in £4.1 million and is set to be used as a new Aldi supermarket if plans are approved.

Cllr Richard Beacham, cabinet member for housing, regeneration and growth, admitted there is a ‘degree of risk’ with the scheme and its timing in the pandemic – but insisted the plans to change the town centre would make it more viable in the long term.