FREE parking bays in the High Street, a weekend bus service for villages and a drastic revamp of Cheadle’s town centre are among suggestions for a ‘vision statement’ as part of a bid for government funding. Cheadle Town Council’s development services committee met on Monday to debate options which would revitalise the heart of the town. Councillors agreed to seek inspiration from the town’s school pupils and sixth form students, as well as attempt to kick-start a more vibrant night-time economy.
In February, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council agreed to apply for a share of £675 million Future High Street funding released by the government in a bid to tackle the decline of town centres across the country.
Cheadle was the only Moorlands town suitable for an application and a deadline has been set for later this month for a ‘vision statement’ for Cheadle to be submitted.
Members of Cheadle Town Council discussed a variety of options for the town, including collection points for online shoppers, superfast broadband to support businesses, pedestrianising a section of High Street at weekend and regenerating the Market Square as the focal point of the town.
Cllr Ray Wood is superintendent at Cheadle Market. He said: “We need to make the town look vibrant. The town looks tired, it needs a spring clean.
“There aren’t many places to eat out in town and everybody goes outside the town for places to go and eat.
“As regards the market, I need to declare an interest, but Northern Markets will talk to the district council.
“Let’s put the past behind us and get the market going.”
While Cllr Stephen Ellis advocated an extension of free parking bays along High Street, Cllr Gary Bentley suggested pedestrianising part of the town centre – possibly at weekends only using a moveable bollard system – and returning sections of road to two-way traffic again.
Several members raised concerns over bus services and suggested subsidies for a weekend bus service to villages surrounding Cheadle and housing estates on the edge of the town.
There was also concern over the lack of use of the High Street bus stop and ideas around improving footpaths and pavements to allow visitors to access tourist areas such as Hales Hall and the town centre without needing to travel by car.
Cllr David Newport urged his colleagues to embrace change in the town centre. He said: “We’ve got to face up to the reality that the high street in Cheadle – and everywhere – is changing.
“That’s because of technological advances and social change. It can be reinvigorated, but we’ve got to think about what we actually want in the high street.”
Cllr Julie Bull suggested attractions for children would help boost footfall in the town centre, while Cllr Kate Martin proposed the council approach the town’s high schools and sixth forms to ask young people what their vision for the town could be.
Each district can apply on behalf of only one town, with successful projects likely to receive £25million to regenerate their town centre.
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