The headlines and even a TV documentary in the last few weeks have suggested that Marks and Spencer and other retailers like House of Fraser are in an irreversible decline. The traditional high street is under real pressure not just from the internet but also the growth of out of town retail. Big increases in rents and in particular Business Rates have also made what was was once many traditional retailers biggest strength into a big weakness
It’s really important that our local Councils Cheshire West and Cheshire East respond to changing events with a radical new approach to how to develop and improve our town centres. Town centre’s perhaps need to be redeveloped as mixed-use spaces. Yes, some high-quality retail space for local retailers but also social ( cafe’s restaurants etc ) and residential space too.
In this climate, Cheshire West’s decision to develop Baron’s Quay at Northwich and create more retail space seems very unwise. This raises additional concerns about Winsford which is at a much earlier stage of redevelopment
Lib Dem Winsford Cllr Charlie Parkinson commented that Chesire West and Chester’s announcements of a new Weaver Square consultation for a new master plan for Northwich was a case of ”More good news for Northwich, what about Winsford? ..millions more.. poured into Northwich to try and rescue Barons Quay…is Winsford being kicked into the long grass yet again ?’
Let’s hope Winsford doesn’t suffer more delays and that lessons are learned and the mistakes in Northwich are not repeated.
Richard Dawson – Eddisbury and Weaver Vale Liberal Democrats