A great place to do business
Thriving economy outcome: A great place to do business
240,000 square feet of retail and leisure space alongside the River Weaver in the heart of Northwich – was completed in November 2017.
The largest units, including an Odeon cinema, are now occupied and welcoming thousands of visitors each month.
Work is ongoing to bring other retail and leisure operators to join the many independent shops, bars and restaurants that have opened in recent months. Together with our other investments in the town, Barons Quay is evidence of our long-term commitment to the regeneration of Northwich.
Winsford Cross Shopping Centre
The Winsford Cross Shopping Centre was acquired in February 2018 as part of our commitment to regenerate the town. Maintenance and minor cosmetic alterations will begin in spring and summer 2018, along with a masterplan for the town centre. There will also be a £1.2 million investment in the expansion of the Winsford Industrial Estate, which will host 350,000 square feet of new employment space and create 1,500 jobs. Winsford Town Park is being transformed in a £900,000 project and will open in June 2018. It is being redeveloped to become a modern and spacious park to encourage outdoor leisure activities.
We brought in a dedicated market development manager to work with the markets team to bring more people into Chester Market. Working with market traders, new signage was installed and publicity materials were circulated.
New traders, especially food vendors, were attracted to the new dining area, which led to the Rediscover Chester Market campaign promoting Chester’s only street food hub. There were nearly 387,000 visitors to the market between October 2017 and March 2018, and it is almost at full capacity.
West and Wales Strategic Rail Prospectus
The West and Wales Strategic Rail Prospectus was launched in Parliament in February 2018 with the support of three government ministers. This long-term, comprehensive, single vision for rail improvements in the region sets out how rail can unlock economic growth. It was developed in partnership with ten stakeholders, with a focus on four areas: Chester, Crewe, Warrington and Manchester Airport. Better rail connections will attract more visitors, reduce congestion and travel times, and be a catalyst for new businesses and jobs.
Business Growth Team
The Business Growth team supports businesses to help them develop. In 2017-18, the team:
- managed enquiries from 647 businesses looking for support on matters such as finding a commercial space, start-ups, recruitment, and business rates and funding (these enquiries increased 40 per centon2016-17)
- supported 62 businesses with a start-up grant
- facilitated bespoke workshops to support 50 retailers
- held two MakeIt Challenges, aimed at demystifying manufacturing for over 200 young people
- hosted two health sector breakfast events to create a networking platform for businesses that want to supply the NHS
- held a series of apprenticeship events educating 50 employers about the process and benefits of taking on apprentices.
Storyhouse: a year of unprecedented success
Storyhouse in Chester is the city’s largest public building and its most ambitious creative project. Opening in May 2017, it transformed a grade I listed building in the city centre into a cultural hub. In addition to being a nationally-acclaimed theatre space, this building hosts a cinema, restaurant and the Council's busiest library.
It has created 1,000 volunteer opportunities and attracted nearly 5,000 new library members. It welcomed one million visitors in its first year, including Her Majesty The Queen and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex. Storyhouse has also been either a nominee or a winner of a number of awards.
The ambitious Chester Northgate will modernise and regenerate part of the historic city. Phase one includes new restaurants, a new Chester market and a multiscreen Picturehouse cinema. Details of phase two will be further shaped in 2019.
Consultation on the masterplan for Weaver Square shopping centre in Northwich will begin in autumn 2018. The vision sets out residential development, a public services hub, a market and a community events space.
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Managed Workspace and Business Engagement project is creating workspaces for small and medium-sized enterprises to be completed by December 2019. The new units will be at Dee View Trade and Business Park (former Central Depot on Bumpers Lane) in Chester, Duttons Business Centre in Northwich and Road 2 Business Park in Winsford.
The £4.5 million project is funded by our Property Reinvestment programme (PRP), with up to £1.8 million coming from the ERDF. PRP reinvests profits from the sale of Council commercial property into redevelopments and investments. This helps us build our property portfolio and meet our income targets.