Community and business leaders have welcomed the start of a £400,000 project to uplift the appearance of the heart of a market town.
The 12-week scheme will see the old pavement at Neston Cross replaced by high quality natural stone, new granite crossings and street furniture. Footways will be widened and there will be new lighting for the historic fountain at The Cross which will also be cleaned.
However, the works will involve road closures and temporary traffic lights will be set up in Neston town centre, and are likely to cause significant delays at peak times.
The work is intended to improve the quality of the surroundings for residents and visitors, enhancing the shopping experience and increasing footfall.
Neston Mayor Cllr Tom Marlow said: “Neston Town Council welcomes the long-awaited next stage of improvements in the town centre.
“This year is very important in the history of Neston as we will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the female society with the annual Ladies Day parade on Thursday June 5.”
Cllr Marlow says the town council has received assurances the work will be completed in mid May.
Paul Davies, chairman of Neston and District Chamber of Trade, said: “We have been involved in the planning of town centre improvements from the beginning and have sought to ensure that any scheme agreed upon would have the potential to enhance trade in the town and even attract new businesses and visitors to the area.”
Neston ward borough councillor Andy Williams (Lab), said: “The works will deliver a significant enhancement to the town and we are very excited to see the improvements on the ground.
“All local organisations involved in the development including Neston Town Council, Neston Community and Youth Centre and the Neston and District Chamber of Trade have worked hard to ensure we get the most for our money and for Neston.”
Cllr Williams pointed out the borough council had also delivered new street lighting, and improvements to the Station Road car park over the last 12 months.
Executive member for culture and economy at Cheshire West and Chester, Cllr Stuart Parker (Con), said: “I am delighted to see these works begin which will no doubt make a huge impact on the town centre for all who visit.
“This project will be complemented by other initiatives being delivered over the coming months including signage and public art that will help improve the look and feel of the whole town.
“We are seeing a step change in the quality of the public realm in one of our key market towns and I look forward to seeing further improvements happening in Neston in the future.”
The borough council accepts that whilst the works will have a positive effect in the long term, ‘there will be an impact in the short term on traffic in the town’.
Residents can keep up to date with progress including road closures via regular updates on Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Facebook and Twitter pages or by visiting www.ruralwestcheshire.org.
Bus routes will not be affected for the first nine weeks.
Any impact in the final stages will be publicised through notices on buses, at bus stops and through the Pioneer and social media.