WINSFORD residents should hopefully see 'shovels in the ground' by next spring, as the first phase in the town's re-development was given the green light.

At a meeting of Cheshire West and Chester Council's cabinet on Wednesday (June 9) seven recommendations were made, including entering into a formal Memorandum of Understand to formally accept the £9.98 million funding offer from the Future High Street Fund scheme.

As part of the project, CWAC will also put forward £11.7 million, representing a significant investment in the town, seeing it transformed it into a world class centre for many generations to come.

Cllr Richard Beecham, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Growth, Economy and Regeneration, said he was really happy to introduce the report to cabinet, saying it would offer Winsford a fully functioning and sustainable town centre.

He said: "A sustainable properly funded and functioning town centre has long been identified as critical in support the council's re-generation aspirations for Winsford.

"We received £9.98 million in Future High Street funding just recently.

"Combined with the £11.7 million the council is putting forward, and the almost £20 million we put forward to buy Market Cross originally, marks a significant investment in Winsford.

"When you think about all the other work we're doing, with Aldi on Dean Drive to produce a new flagship store, the investment we've put into Town Park, the work at the Marina and all the buildings and jobs at the industrial estate that we can't build fast enough for people that have got interest in them.

"All of this collectively is a huge programme of work and shows a massive commitment from the council to Winsford, for its past, its present and its future."

Other recommendations approved by the cabinet include endorsing the scheme in line with the masterplan, authorising the development and submitting of planning applications to deliver phase 1 and approving the council commits to the design stage of the project, including any preparatory and enabling works.

He added: "A vision for the town centre has been developed to raise awareness and achieve a common understanding of what we are trying to achieve that all stakeholders can share and buy into.

"A town centre that serves the people of Winsford and encourages them to use the town for shopping, leisure and community activities.

"To create a place that makes Winsford town centre a place that people feel proud of in the same way that they have pride for Town Park and the Flashes and one that caters for their needs.

"A sustainable town that responds to the demands of the climate change emergency.

"It's a really positive story this and we should all be proud of all the regeneration work going on."

Cllr Nathan Pardoe said he also welcomed the plans for the first phase of the re-development and that they represented 'a huge milestone' for the town.

He said: "They provide an answer to the most common question of residents about when construction will start.

"We now know, subject to planning, construction will start next spring (2022).

"Residents would love to see the town centre become a place where they spend time together.

"These plans support this vision, providing modern retail units as well as market, dining and social spaces.

"For as long as I remember, Winsford town centre has needed re-development

"It's only since 2018, when the council purchases the town centre have they been able to deliver the re-development, ending the cycle of private owners not investing in the town."

"The plans reflect that the town centres of the future are about more than just retail.

"We can be optimistic that the town is on the up.

"The overwhelming desire for many residents is a shovel in the ground and work starting."