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£10m development brings new life to old

CREWE'S eagerly awaited multi-million pound leisure park will begin to finally take shape in the New Year.

CREWE'S eagerly awaited multi-million pound leisure park will begin to finally take shape in the New Year.

The £10m development on land off Eaton Street will provide a mix of retail and leisure facilities.

Chester-based developer Liberty Properties has received considerable interest from major retailers, cinemas, health clubs, restaurants, nightclubs and bowling operators.

The project is a key aspect of the council's wider vision in the Local Plan to breathe new life into Crewe town centre, which has been described as a 'ghost town' after 5pm.

The council's executive director of environment and development, Derek Cook, said the plans are on track, but admitted it was a slow process.

He explained: 'Liberty Properties have been extremely active over the past six months.

'They have to market the site to potential leisure users and retailers and then convert these expressions of interest into actually signing people up.

'They have signed some but are still working on others.

'Parallel with that, they are currently doing investigation work on the land using drill rigs to examine the ground conditions and obtaining quotations from major building companies.

'This is so they know in broad terms what it will cost to construct the majority of buildings.

'When they have brought all that information together, they will then be in a position to make a final offer to the council for the land.

'Liberty are following a brief from the council for leisure usage with a retail element.

'Retail is more valuable in terms of rents, but we want to see family leisure provision on the site.

'We want something that Crewe has not got at the moment.'

The development, on disused railway land, will cover some 90,000 sq ft and link up with the Morrisons superstore.

The council's cabinet member for environment and development, Michael Lockhart, said the project would improve the facilities for young people in the town.

He said: 'There is little for youngsters to do in Crewe.

'What we want to do is create a leisure industry which will give us a night-time economy.

'Our aim is to keep the money in Crewe instead of people going elsewhere to spend it.

'If there are excellent leisure and retail facilities here, then money will be kept in the town, which will in turn support jobs.'

The development has been frustrated for the past three years and collapsed completely in 2000 before Liberty was chosen.

Cllr Lockhart added: 'After the last sale fell through, we remarketed the site and as a result of that, we now have a potential buyer.'


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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