Staffordshire Moorlands District Council has prioritised transforming Cheadle as part of its commitment to creating safer and healthier environments for communities to live and work in and to creating a strong economy by regenerating towns and villages.
In the Autumn, the Council considered a report prepared by consultants Cushman and Wakefield setting out some of the possible options for a masterplan and investment strategy and agreed to establish a Town Centre Delivery Board supported by a Stakeholder Panel to oversee and guide this significant project.
The Panel met for the first time this week (Monday 25 January) where it was agreed that, amongst other things, it will be responsible for overseeing the programme of public consultation and a public survey seeking views on all the regeneration issues and opportunities for the town centre.
The next step is to appoint consultants to carry it out – and also to work with the Panel to identify further options for the town centre.
Councillor Sybil Ralphs, Leader of the District Council, said: “This was a very positive and productive first meeting and I’m pleased that the Panel can now move another step forward by seeking consultants to deliver the consultation and engagement programme.
“I hope this provides reassurance to local residents, businesses and all those interested in the future development of Cheadle that, true to our word, we will be listening to voices from across the community before any decisions are taken.
“We are committed to investing in Cheadle by restoring vibrancy to the high street and providing the new homes and community health, leisure and wellbeing facilities that meet the needs of current and future residents and visitors. I look forward to working closely with the Panel and the Board to deliver our shared ambitions.”
The Cushman and Wakefield options appraisal report looked at the possible future uses for sites in the town in public ownership including the town centre car parks, South Moorlands Leisure Centre and Cheadle Community Hospital.
The consultants appointed for the public engagement programme will look at all the potential options for the town centre and not just those identified in the report.
Councillor Ralphs added: “We have always recognised the critical importance of delivering this transformation project in partnership. We know that people have clear views about the town centre and I welcome the role the consultants will play in considering all options for the town’s key sites and not just those identified in the Cushman and Wakefield report.”
In December 2019 Cheadle was one of the first 14 pilot towns to receive expert advice and support to help revitalise the high street from the Government’s High Streets Task Force. A small team will visit the town virtually next month to carry out analysis before producing a report aimed at helping Cheadle unlock its potential.
The Stakeholder Panel will also be responsible for overseeing the work of the Future High Street Fund Task Force and any recommendations made following the visit.
Councillor Ian Plant, Chair of the Stakeholder Panel, said: “We are excited to be starting in earnest on these regeneration projects which are very much focussed on delivering a town centre that is fit for the future.
“This was a good, productive first meeting of the Panel when a clear way forward was agreed. We will now get on with the job of appointing the consultants who will engage the whole community at the earliest opportunity so we can hear your views, thoughts and suggestions.”
The minutes of this and future Panel meetings will be made available on the Town Council’s website: www.cheadletowncouncil.org.uk