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DOWN AND OUT IN CREWE AND NANTWICH - with apologies to George Orwell.

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This week’s local press once again failed to raise even a smidgeon of optimism relating to Crewe.

Whilst Aldi are seeking a judicial review of Cheshire East’s refusal to grant planning permission for their proposed new larger store on University Way, we also read that there has been stabbings in Nantwich Road and imminent rises in car parking charges.

The most startling piece of news is the extent of our town centre retail plight with Crewe having 25.8% of units empty against a Cheshire East average of 10.2%.

All is not lost however as in the letters pages, Brian Silvester pledges to revive the town centre if elected. Simples.

I still fail to see how Cheshire East as one authority can have differing policies covering town centre parking charges across each town. The fact that Crewe has the highest levels of car parking charges in the borough cannot be right or fair.

I note that a Nantwich councillor voted for the increase and has now sought a separate review for his constituency. Interesting.

Whatever the short term issues we need to be positive. This week has seen our loan fund confirm significant loans all of which are to Crewe based businesses looking to invest locally in both cap ex and employment.

If, despite the doom and gloom you have plans to expand your business and need funding to put such in place then get in touch with the Development Agency based at the Chamber.

We cannot make rash promises to resurrect the local economy on our own but we will acknowledge that despite the adversity reported on a weekly basis in the press, Crewe remains far from down and out.