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The Changing Face of the British Town Centre

The changing face of the British Town Centre has been a constant headline maker over recent times, mainly due to large retailers closing their outlets or council led redevelopments remaining well short of full capacity.

On the other hand, if we look at Crewe, we have seen growth in out of town food and drink driven outlets via Greggs, Starbucks, Costa, Subway and KFC. Additionally Marston’s Brewery has invested locally via new build pub/restaurants - The Sacred Orchard in Nantwich and The Station Pilot in Crewe.

In the interim, Crewe Town Centre, whilst continuing to struggle, is looking to change its persona via a leisure led redevelopment of the Royal Arcade and a multi-functional offering within a revamped Market Hall.

John Timpson, owner and Chairman of Timpson the well-known shoe repairer has voiced his concerns for retail led town centre strategies and put forward a case for mixed use including residential. Arguably his opinion matters given the longevity of his company’s name on our High Street. He has not been slow to adapt his own business which now also embraces key cutting, engraving, dry cleaning, mobile phone repairs and photo processing. You can also find pop up Timpson’s outside supermarkets – I know of Sainsbury’s Nantwich and Tesco in Longton locally.

Northwich reflects a depressing example of the current malaise affecting our towns and the Agent’s attempts to let the ongoing high number of empty units within Baron’s Quay will not be helped by the recent announcement that Marks and Spencer is to close its doors in the town.

Hopefully the fresh thinking that might possibly be getting through to the powers that be will continue to gain momentum before it is too late for many old established towns, Crewe amongst them.

Around 30 years ago I attended a Farmer’s Seminar where the speaker emphasised the need for diversification. How many farms now offer B & B, produce or craft shops on site and visitor days?

No business is immune from change and if you feel that the ‘waters of change’ are lapping around your ankles then consider your options, engage with your advisors and your staff and if the end result is a desire to embrace a change in direction, then contact us at South Cheshire Development Agency, where not only will we be happy to discuss your plans, but we also have funding available to help put things in place.

Maybe the term ‘a load of old cobblers’ now has a new and positive meaning.   

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Orion Engineering Ltd
I suggest Crewe town centre has moved! Where has the footfall gone? Grand junction Retail Park where all the big name stores now reside. Why? FREE PARKING! Until the council grasp hold of this fact then I am sceptical of any regeneration scheme for the old town centre.
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