The Cheadle Towns Fund Board has submitted its bid for a £25 million share of government funding aimed to support small towns across the UK.
The funding will go to support delivering quality employment space for innovation and clean growth, as well as connecting the district centre with the rail network at a new train station.
Marge Falconer, Chair of the Board and Executive Director Alexander BMI Healthcare, said:
We are all very excited about this opportunity to make a real difference to Cheadle. We have moulded our plans around connectivity, clean growth and enterprise. This sets up Cheadle to play a full role in post-Covid recovery and to help drive the economy in the wider region.”
Areas of investment included in the Towns Fund bid have been chosen for their potential to offer the greatest benefit to Cheadle, as well as the wider borough of Stockport. There are four key priorities in the Town Investment Plan:
- A new rail station joining Cheadle to the wider public transport network, transforming accessibility to Stockport Town Centre and beyond.
- Comprehensive Active Travel proposals which include a network of new cycleways to link together residential, employment and transport destinations. Promoting health and reducing local congestion.
- An innovative state of the art Low Carbon Eco Business Park that will be game changing. It will act as an exemplar for low carbon technologies and clean energy production. The Eco Park will cluster small and large businesses to cluster, accelerating the green business sector.
- A High Street Innovation Zone that will repurpose properties, to tap directly into Cheadle’s entrepreneurial potential, whilst also addressing the challenges of the High Street. Through the provision of a flexible office hub and satellite space, Cheadle will attract people to work locally.
Rev Dr Rob Munro, Chair of Cheadle Village Partnership, and voice of the local community said:
In the biggest local survey ever undertaken in Cheadle, with over 1200 responses, over 85% identified rail connectivity, then low carbon solutions and High Street innovation as our deepest concerns for our local community. The Town’s Fund is targeting not only what we need, but what we want for Cheadle’s future!”
Mary Robinson, the local MP, has been closely involved with the Board said:
We have consulted the local and business community widely and are confident that our proposals will unlock Cheadle’s potential for everyone. If our stage 1 bid is successful then a new rail station at Cheadle will benefit greatly the whole borough.
“I have campaigned hard for investment to revitalise Cheadle for some time, and I am so pleased that Cheadle’s potential has been recognised. This Government funding will go far to regenerate our high street and improve local cycling and walking options.
“This is just the starting point for a much longer-term vision to boost our local area by unlocking our economic potential through green growth and improved transport links. I will be continuing this exciting work in partnership with community groups as we proceed with levelling up the North.”
Cllr David Meller, local councillor and Cabinet Member for Economy & Regeneration at Stockport Council said:
The four proposals on offer are really exciting – but the one I’m most excited about is the potential new railway station for Cheadle. This is something I’ve campaigned for, for some time, and its potential for Cheadle and Stockport is huge. I’m hoping this plan could end years of waiting.
“At the centre of these plans is delivering a greener Cheadle and a greener economy within Stockport. The railway station, coupled with the Eco Business Park proposal, the emphasis on walking and cycling and working locally through the Innovation Zone, will all be game changers locally and help us ‘Build Back Better’ from COVID.”
Cheadle is one of 101 communities across the UK which were invited by the government to bid for a share of the £3.6 billion Towns Fund. The local community should hear early next year whether it has been invited to progress to stage 2 and develop full business cases for each project to then secure the funding.