A new High Street Commission is meeting during the summer to work on plans to support the recovery of the high streets across the borough.

Residents, community stakeholders, and partners are being asked to send in their views and suggestions for consideration.

There are already many investment projects starting across the borough. Winsford has been shortlisted for the Governments Future High Streets Fund, which will support plans to enhance the high street and the town centre. The regeneration of Winsford town centre forms part of the wider £200m investment the Council is hoping to unlock in the area.

Ellesmere Port is a Pilot Participant for the High Street Task Force led by Sonia Cubrillo who visited Ellesmere Port just before the lock down in March. Sonia Cubrillo and Graham Soult had a tour of Ellesmere Port before meeting with the Council and partners to review the challenges facing the town centre and the current plans for transformation.

The report to the Council said it was very clear from the meeting that there is a huge amount of enthusiasm and support for the town from both the council and business leaders. There was a recommendation for a team approach to transformation, with council, business and the community.

Work has started on the building of a new bus zone along Civic Way in Ellesmere Port to provide local people with an improved travel experience. This will be followed by the construction of a new public services Hub building in the autumn on the site of the former bus station.

In Chester work has started on the Northgate project that includes a new market, cinema, public square and car parking. Work is also starting on a new water drain that will benefit the whole of the city centre.

Councillor 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.

“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.

“‘’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 suggestions to develop collaborative and practical recommendations so that the Council and local partners can play their part in the economic recovery of the high streets.

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.

Please send your views to: highstreetcommission@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

The deadline for submissions is Sunday, 19 July 2020.

For further details visit the High Street, Town, and City Centre Commission webpage.

March Task Force visit to Ellesmere Port (before lock down) Sonia Cubrillo second from left and Graham Soult with local representatives.
March Task Force visit to Ellesmere Port (before lock down) Sonia Cubrillo second from left and Graham Soult with local representatives.