Consultants hired to draw up Cheshire East regeneration plans

09 December 2020 3 min. read

A local authority in England has appointed a multidisciplinary team to draw up regeneration plans. Mott MacDonald, Cushman & Wakefield and Optimised Environments will work to produce proposals across nine key centres for Cheshire East Council.

Cheshire East Council is the local authority of the Borough of Cheshire East, Cheshire, England. It is a unitary authority, having the powers of a non-metropolitan county and district council combined. During the pandemic, the local authority has seen just how crucial local centres are to the local economy, and has become increasingly aware that they will be key to any future recovery post-Covid-19.

As a result, in line with the “next-tier town” strategies currently being prepared in Macclesfield and Crewe, the council has engaged a multidisciplinary team of professional services firms to design regeneration plans for a number of hubs across East Cheshire. Comprising Cushman & Wakefield, Mott Macdonald and Optimised Environments is working to produce regeneration proposals for nine key centres across the borough. These are Alsager, Congleton, Handforth, Knutsford, Middlewich, Nantwich, Poynton, Sandbach and Wilmslow, which are known as the borough’s key service towns.

As reported by local news provider Place North West, consultancy Cushman & Wakefield, planning advisory firm Mott Macdonald and urban designer Optimised Environments (OPEN) have been hired to work with the council to prepare the so-called Town Centre Vitality Plans. A statement from Cheshire East Council said it aimed to draw up strategies over the next 18 months, containing “bespoke initiatives and solutions” to support and develop the towns and help them tackle individual challenges and opportunities.

Consultants hired to draw up Cheshire East regeneration plans

Councillor Nick Mannion, Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Regeneration, added, “The council recognises the value of thriving town centres that meet the needs and aspirations of the communities they serve. Our local centres enable people to carry out day-to-day activities close to their homes, reducing reliance on cars and therefore bringing associated environmental benefits.”

The project has already commenced, and work is underway to gain a deeper understanding of each of the town centres through site visits. This includes a series of public consultations set to take place early next year on the emerging draft plans and the intervention projects proposed.

Cushman & Wakefield prepared a strategic regeneration framework for Macclesfield around two years ago and a regeneration framework for Crewe about five years ago, while Caroline Baker, Head of Cushman & Wakefield’s Northern Region and its Manchester office, is leading the multidisciplinary team. An expert in town centre regeneration strategies, she has served as a national judge for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Great British High Street Awards last year.

Baker said of the project, “Town centres across the UK are facing unprecedented challenges – significant structural changes have been further impacted by Covid-19. The Government has acknowledged the need for intervention through the Future High Streets Fund, Town Deals [and other initiatives], but not all towns have access to these funds. We are delighted to be working with Cheshire East, to build on the work already being undertaken by the town councils and their partners and determine action plans to support the nine centres, so that they can respond to local opportunities and enhance their roles at the heart of their communities.”