As a petition demanding investment in Winsford’s shopping centre reaches more than 400 signatures, its landlords reveal improving the complex is one of its 2016 priorities.

Northern Ireland-based MAR Properties say they ‘share the views’ of local residents that Winsford Cross Shopping Centre requires further investment.

Their comments follow the creation of a petition by Winsford Residents Association calling for support to highlight the ‘urgent’ need for a funding boost for the town centre.

Overhaul necessary

Hundreds of people have pledged their backing and commented, with one local writing: “Winsford needs an overhaul. The town centre looks completely scruffy and its driving people away from the area.”

While Karl Shaw, from Winsford, posted: “When you travel around Cheshire you see investment everywhere.

“Winsford on the other hand is left behind.”

Morgan McCandless, commercial director at MAR Properties, told The Chronicle they want to reassure residents that improving the shopping centre is a priority for MAR as well as the community.

He said: “We are currently engaged with the council to agree the best way forward to develop the shopping centre in line with the adopted Neighbourhood Plan and development framework for Winsford.”

Role of Neighbourhood Plan

Cheshire West and Chester Council has been working with Winsford Town Council and other partners to identify how to instigate investment in the town since the adoption of the Neighbourhood Plan in 2014, says cabinet member for economic development and infrastructure Cllr Brian Clarke.

He explained: “The council know that having a much improved shopping centre is a top priority for the local community and that is why the Winsford Development Framework has been developed, to provide a comprehensive master plan that will set out a clear approach for the regeneration.

“This is a key part of the development process and a logical progression of the Neighbourhood Plan.

“The Development Framework provides a practical toolkit for Cheshire West and Chester Council and Winsford Town Council to drive forward regeneration proposals within the town.

“It addresses important design issues, private and public development opportunities and local aspirations that will facilitate delivery on the ground.

Cllr Clarke added that the Winsford Transport Strategy has been developed in conjunction with the framework and will provide a platform for ‘strategic opportunities for transport improvements for Winsford such as local sustainable trips and improved connectivity to the M6’.