SANDBACH could become a centre of cultural excellence if a £1.5m plan gets the go-ahead.
That is the view of Helen Beech, project manager of the Sandbach Part-nership, which is spearheading the scheme for an enterprise, arts and culture centre in the town.
The Partnership was set up in 2001 to breathe new life into Sandbach. The plan to build the Saxon Centre represents its biggest project to date.
Mrs Beech said: 'We recognise the potential of culture to act as a regeneration tool in Sandbach and want to explore how we can develop the town as a centre of cultural excellence.
'This could help enhance the local quality of life and stimulate new economic vitality. We particularly want to create a first-class setting for performances. We anticipate that the venture would build on the outstanding success of Foden's Richardson Band.'
The Partnership is working in tandem with South East Cheshire Enterprise. Business leaders believe the scheme could have a massive positive impact on retail and tourism in the town.
The brass band would get the permanent base it desperately needs to remain in the town, which has been its home for more than 100 years.
In addition to an enterprise, arts and culture centre, the building would house a multi-purpose conference and entertainment venue, a chamber of commerce, a learning centre and starter units for fledgling businesses.
Sandbach was chosen as one of 15 towns in the North West for the Countryside Agency's Market Towns Initiative.
The Partnership comprises residents, business people, parish, town and county councillors and representatives of community groups. Members have been working together to form ways of boosting the town's cultural activity, improving the transport system, create better facilities for community events and encourage more visitors.
A feasibility study into the Saxon Centre plan is expected to get under way in August, before a bid for funding is made to the North West Development Agency before the end of the year.
Possible sites have been identified, but have not been revealed.
Mrs Beech added: 'We want to determine the need for start-up opportunities for businesses within the creative industries. This could include media, publishing, printing, design and others. We want to stimulate enterprise and investment in Sandbach.'