A ROMAN-style amphitheatre may be built in Middlewich providing a venue for outdoor performances and a new home for the market.
Middlewich Town Council won £59,700 from the Rural Recovery scheme for the historically inspired design.
If plans go to schedule the amphitheatre could be in place in the Bull Ring by the end of the summer.
The extra cash from the Rural Recovery fund will be the cherry on the cake for Middlewich councillors who have long campaigned for the regeneration of the Bull Ring.
The amphitheatre would compliment the year long improvements made at the site including better bus stops, street lighting, and a taxi rank.
It would also mark the entrance to Wheelock Street and act as a gateway to the town.
Middlewich Town Mayor Alison Roylance-White favours the development of the amphitheatre but town leaders want to hear the views of residents on the matter. The other suggestion being mooted is a design that incorporates steps up to the cenotaph.
The idea for an amphitheatre at the gateway to Middlewich, which has hosted two Roman festivals since the town's historical ancestry was unearthed, was jumped on by town councillors seeking to further promote its ancient tradition.
Louise Wallace, senior conservation officer at Congleton Borough Council has worked alongside Jonathon Williams and architect Tim Allen.
Louise said: 'It's a large investment and has been ongoing for some time. Tim came up with this idea of the amphitheatre and the town council really wanted to go for that and they went to Rural Recovery and were successful.'
The finishing touches are being put to the design before it goes through the planning and tendering process.
The extra cash from the Rural Recovery scheme, which aims to support market towns and rural economies, adds to funding from Congleton Borough Council and Cheshire County Council Highways department brings the total to £266,000.
Nicola Lavin from Rural Recovery reckons a gateway project in Middlewich will be a lasting tribute to Rural Recovery and entice people to Middlewich.
She said: 'This was seen as a good investment. We wanted to support the infrastructure into the town. It makes it more attractive to visitors and it sits within the Middlewich Roman theme.'
Rural Recovery have attached some conditions to the use of the grant including at least eight outdoor events need to be staged there each year.
The amphitheatre will also house the market moving it away from the car park at the back of Somerfields.
Nicola added: 'The Bull Ring is a key entry point to Middlewich. Rural Recovery will finish in 2008 and the amphitheatre will still be there. There will be some evidence that Rural Recovery was in the area and providing a necessary infrastructure not only for the local residents but for visitors and tourists.'
Plans for the scheme were revealed to
the public at the launch of the Middlewich Health-check in March. Healthcheck co-ordinator Stephen Dent said: 'There was a lot of interest in the Roman amphitheatre designs for the redevelopment of the Bull Ring.'
People can call town clerk Jonathon Williams on 01606 833434 to register their vote.