The results are in from a consultation which focused on the future of a Moorlands town. Cheadle stakeholder subgroup, an unpaid volunteer group of residents supported by Team Cheadle, was tasked by Cheadle Town Stakeholder Panel with obtaining the views of residents and the community on the potential town centre development projects.
The results are in from a consultation which focused on the future of a Moorlands town.
Cheadle stakeholder subgroup, an unpaid volunteer group of residents supported by Team Cheadle, was tasked by Cheadle Town Stakeholder Panel with obtaining the views of residents and the community on the potential town centre development projects.
Ivan Wozniak, Chairman of the subgroup explained: “In order to start the process, the subgroup believed that there was first a requirement to understand the needs of the people of Cheadle and surrounding area.
“This was done via our Big Cheadle Questionnaire. It covered eight topics including housing, transport, well-being, town centre, tourism, retail, community and leisure.
“It was a huge undertaking for our volunteers requiring hundreds of hours of their time in preparation, advertising, promotion and collation of the results.
“I believe it was the first time this has been done in more than a generation. We had a massive response (516 responses in total) to our questionnaire both from Cheadle and the surrounding villages and we thank the public for their valuable time and input.”
Ivan added: “The results are of great interest but the stand out surprise was the level of feeling about traffic/congestion and roads.
“It appeared not only as the major transport issue but also as the main issue in well-being responses.”
The full results of the Big Cheadle Questionnaire are available on the Team Cheadle social media pages and website, and a report of the consultation findings has been supplied to Cheadle Town Council, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and their consultants surrounding the development of a plan for the regeneration of the town.
Ivan added: “It will be their responsibility to use the information positively to influence future consultations and project proposals.”
Summary of results
About the participants: This section identified that the majority of participants were in the age range 36 to 65 and that a good spread of age groups took part in the survey. Encouragingly, 11 per cent of 18–35 year-olds took part in the survey. Traditionally this is a difficult age group to engage in this type of survey.
The majority of participants lived in Cheadle (62 per cent) but equally important was a significant number (36 per cent) lived in the villages within 10 miles of the town.
Housing: Most people (66 per cent) did not want more houses built beyond the 1,136 already agreed. However, 27 per cent agreed with building more houses. Of the sites suggested most responded (37 per cent) that they would like to see none of the proposed sites built on. Only two per cent supported building on Tape Street car park and just three per centsupported building on the South Moorlands Leisure Centre site. The Stoddard’s Depot and the Well Street car park and former Lightwood Care Home were the preferred sites for any housing. To accommodate extra houses and the increased population the primary additional facilities needed were identified as traffic improvements (18 per cent) and a new health centre (18 per cent). Other facilities recommended included transport, schools and young person facilities.
Town Centre: The three main things that would provide an incentive to visit the town centre more often are, a wider variety of shops (419 = 81 per cent), free or more flexible parking (392 = 76 per cent), and a thriving market (383 – 74 per cent). More bars and restaurants and events would also provide encouragement to visit with family and visitors. The majority of people visit the town centre at least weekly (49 per cent) either during the day or when it is free to park and most feel safe all the time (62 per cent). A number of residents would like the High Street to be permanently pedestrianised (22 per cent) but the majority would only like it to be pedestrianised at specific times (46 per cent).
Tourism: The majority of people (90 per cent) agree that tourism will benefit the town. A wide variety of things would encourage more tourists to visit with free parking and more B&B or hotels considered to be the two most important points. Other significant issues were more eating places, an arts, heritage and entertainment centre, guided tours and walks and more community events. The majority of people recognise Pugin’s Gem and the Pugin related branding as well as our unique selling points of being a gateway to the Churnet Valley and Cheadle’s creativity. The condition and maintenance of street furniture and signage is a concern for residents (76 per cent).
Retail: A massive 72 per cent of people think there are not enough shops in Cheadle. Independent and specialist shops and clothes and shoe shops are considered the most needed. However, a discount supermarket and supermarket with petrol station were identified as most likely to encourage people to shop more in Cheadle. Pre-Covid a majority of people shop outside of Cheadle on a weekly basis with Leek, Uttoxeter, online, and Hanley benefitting the most. Overwhelmingly (80 per cent) would shop more in Cheadle if there was a short period of free parking in the car parks. If local shops were all online 38 per cent say they would shop local online and an additional 42 per cent would buy local online provided prices were competitive.
Transport: 93 per cent of respondents own a car. Traffic congestion in the area should be addressed primarily by consideration of restriction of lorries through the town, a bypass, discussions with JCB and Alton Towers, or a traffic study. In terms of a greener future the public would be encouraged to use public transport by increasing bus services and routes to surrounding villages, extending routes to hospitals and railway stations, and generally more frequent services.
Well-being: This area is being evaluated by another subgroup but their question was included in the questionnaire for completeness. Unlike other sections reported in this summary, the results were produced based on people’s free text responses and were therefore more difficult to quantify.
The quality of people’s lives can be improved by a range of issues. However, the stand out surprise issue was traffic congestion and state of roads. Other improvements could be provided by Cheadle hospital becoming a medical centre, better public transport, better leisure facilities/activities, better pavements and walking/cycling routes. Ease of access to dentists and doctors was also a concern.
Community: A majority of people (66 per cent) think the town would benefit from a new Community centre for events/services/activities. Most people (66 per cent) consider Cheadle has a strong sense of community. Many also believe GP surgeries should be in the centre of town (47 per cent). There is a wide spread of services and activities required in the town with the top two being activities and services for young (18 per cent) and old (17 per cent) respectively. Significant others include adult education, arts and crafts, activities for pre-school children and parents, and a program of activities for people with disabilities. Whilst there are some major events in the town already respondents would primarily like to see more food festivals, specialist markets and music events. Other significant events suggested include cinema, family activity days, arts and craft events, beer festival, heritage events and art displays. A majority of people (59 per cent) believe there is a need for more outside space for community events and prefer that outdoor activity/events take place in the market place or High Street.
Leisure Centre: An overwhelming majority (87 per cent) want the leisure centre and its outdoor facilities to remain in their current location with a desire to retain the already available activities. Respondents were asked in a free text response what facilities they would like to see at the centre. The main theme of the response was that they would like to see improvements to the swimming pool and changing rooms but they were happy with the current range of activities provided. Other emerging themes included; fitness classes, spa/sauna/steam room, coffee shop/ café, Yoga/Pilates/tai chi/ meditation, improved gym, better disabled access, more activities for the disabled and for the over 50s.
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