SANDBACH must have regular festivals and attract big companies in order for its businesses to survive.
That's the view of John France, chairman of the town's chamber of trade and commerce, who is delighted funding has been found for a battle re-enactment festival, despite opposition from councillors and residents.
Some people feel plans to celebrate the Skirmish of Scotch Common, in which 400 Scotsmen lost their lives in 1651, are in bad taste.
But Mr France said: 'Sandbach itself does not have the infrastructure to maintain its own businesses or economy.
'People will not come into Sandbach from elsewhere just for the shops. Whatever happens we must attract people with other things.
'One option is for us to become a 'wine bar town'. The other is to attract people through the quaintness of Sandbach. Another is to attract big business, such as the planned garden centre at Congleton Road.
'I am pleased funding has been found because it is vital. We must always be doing something to bring people in, and I think this will attract people.'
The festival, planned for the weekend of September 11 and 12, will see one of Britain's best re-enactment groups, Sealed Knot, portraying the events of September 3, 1651.
The people of Sandbach stood firm when Scottish soldiers, returning from the Battle of Worcester, tried to take over the town.
History books recorded: 'The poor Scots, weary with long marching and riding, were badly treated.'
It is planned to transform Sandbach Park into a 17th century town, and have a range of attractions reflecting the town's history.
A banquet in the Town Hall, a firework display, a parade and a performance by the Fodens Richardson Brass Band are planned.
Organisers wanted Sandbach Town Council to financially support the event. But it was described as 'not a sound proposition' by Cllr Barry Moran.
Cllr David Lloyd Griffiths said: 'Around 350 years ago there was a massacre. There has never been any suggestion of a celebration.'
Now the Sandbach Partnership, an organisation set up to breathe new life into the town, has agreed to stump up around £3,000.
Project manager Helen Beech said: 'We see this as one of a number of festivals that we want to support and we are looking to draw more funding into the town.'