A NEW commission to support the recovery of high streets in Northwich and Winsford has begun meeting this summer – and it wants to hear your views.

Cheshire West and Chester Council has launched a high street commission in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

It comes as the council has regeneration projects in its sights across all its towns – including the mooted £21.7 million Winsford project, should CWAC's bid for Government cash be successful, plus plans to overhaul Weaver Square.

Cllr Richard Beacham, cabinet member for housing, regeneration and growth said: “The challenges faced by high streets across the country have been well documented. Covid-19 is an additional challenge and we must learn to adapt and to consider new investment in order to support our high streets to survive.

Winsford Guardian:

“I am sure there is a wealth of good ideas from business owners and residents for reviving high streets in our borough.

"I know many people believe the reason for the decline is property rental rates and business rates, but the council doesn’t control these. There are, however, areas that we can influence and that is what this commission is all about.

“I’d like to know more about travel issues to our high streets, what events and activities could be happening, or if there is a demand for more community space.

"We already have development projects underway but what are the other opportunities that local people think might help to breathe new life into some of our high streets? I look forward to hearing your ideas.”

The commission is meeting until September and will welcome all practical and collaborative suggestions.

It will build on work carried out back in 2013-14 by a cross-party group of councillors led by Cllr Charles Fifield, Conservative member for Weaver and Cuddington, who looked at the challenges facing high streets at the time and made recommendations of how to support businesses.

Cllr Fifield wanted CWAC to launch a similar commission to this back in summer 2018 to support regeneration across the borough, but it was rejected at a full council meeting, and the idea was shunned for a second time last February.

Winsford Guardian:

Speaking to the Guardian in 2018, Cllr Fifield said: "There are some issues like this which are far more important than party politics and we need everybody to work together to find a potential solution."

Areas of focus of the commission will include analysis of the economic impact of Covid-19 and other factors facing the high street using expert witness reports from Business Improvement Districts, local traders and residents.

Residents and businesses are asked to email highstreetcommission@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk by Sunday, July 19, to share their views.