Supported by Allies & Morrison, Colliers, and Mott MacDonald, the council has drawn up a 15-year strategy for the town centre focussed on improving access, diversifying its cultural and leisure offering, and reducing the proportion of retail.
Among the early interventions proposed by the council is a public service hub, set to include a customer service centre, housing, and council offices. This is to be built on the existing bus station, owned by the local authority and next to the Mercer Walk entrance of the Port Arcades shopping centre, while buses will be relocated to a new interchange along Civic Way.
This has a capital cost is approximately £16m and will be supported by £7m in funding from the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership.
The existing council offices at Civic Way will be demolished, a development brief is to be prepared for redevelopment of the Civic Centre site as a mixed-use, housing-led development site and brought to market, with CWAC expecting any development to “promote excellence in design, public realm and green space”.
At Coronation Road, which currently houses many of the tenants who will move into the public service hub once it completes, the council is proposing to focus on housing, with a mix of types and tenures to be brought forward. CWAC added due to the “incremental nature” of development in this area, it should be brought forward by a registered provider, or as build-to-rent. In total, these future phases of the town centre regeneration could include around 600 homes.
The former B&M Bargains site, described as a “blight on the town centre”, is also identified for redevelopment and is set to be demolished, redevelopment of this site could include food and drink uses.
CWAC is set to sign off the masterplan at a meeting next Wednesday, after holding a series of consultation events in November last year. These found most members of the public in favour of diversifying the town’s offering to reduce retail and improve cultural and leisure facilities.
“The investment in the town centre will enable the ongoing regeneration of Ellesmere Port through a structured and locally supported plan that underpins future development and investment decisions.”