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Future High Street Fund Application for Cheadle

Background

The Future High Streets Fund is part of the Government's £3.6bn Towns Initiative to increase investment in towns and cities. The aim of the Future High Street fund (FHSF) is to renew and reshape town centres and high streets in a way that drives growth, improves experience and ensures future economic sustainability which means that they are not fully reliant on retail.  The funding provides financial support for transformative and structural changes to overcome local and national challenges and diversify town centre uses. 

The award has a number of stages:

Stage 1: Local Councils apply for Development funding to help develop proposals and business case for towns (or parts of towns) which have higher than national shop vacancy levels.  The Council applied for this funding but was not selected to progress to second stage. The application was though considered strong and Cheadle has been selected a 'pilot' town to receive additional support from a new High Street Task force, funded by Government, to help develop proposals in case new funding becomes available.

 

Details of the Cheadle application

Cheadle's application aimed to tackle six challenges, which have been identified by a range of partners and stakeholders:

  • High retail vacancy level
  • Poor quality public realm, with some poor shop frontages and some poor quality retailers
  • Lack of micro-business incubation and office accommodation (the Daisybank Business centre has shown how much pent up demand)
  • Lack of house building especially in town centre and re-sales in the wider area resulting in low spend in the town centre by householders (and lack of housing which will attract the kind of skilled workers that JCB and others require over the longer term)
  • Road, transport  and parking infrastructure issues
  • Lack of business support for retailers(and low penetration of business services to micro businesses)

Potential solutions, which would be explored if invited to full application

1.Creation of a quality but smaller 'core' to the town centre

  • working with property owners and businesses to diversify the high street, find new uses for empty/underused buildings and provide grant/loan funding for improvements and business growth. 
  • Public realm works to improve the appearance of the town centre 

2.Diversify uses outside of new core area - working with landowners to diversify units where there is lack of demand in peripheral areas

3. Transport

  • Taking forward issues identified in transport study to reduce congestion on Ashbourne Road/Tape Street
  • Exploring if new technologies can be introduced to allow more flexible parking times and payment methods which will support rejuvenation of high street  

A number of partners and individuals have expressed ideas to improve the town, which we welcome as part of our continued dialogue. Where these fall outside of what this initiative can fund, they have not been included. This does not imply that we are not supportive of these ideas.

There was strong support for our application from across all sectors and we have received letters of support from business (JCB, Alton Towers, Klarius, HCA Developments, and commercial property owners) as well as public and voluntary & community stakeholders ( Cheadle Town Council, Team Cheadle, Cheadle Discovery, Support Staffordshire and both the County Council, Health CCG, Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce and the Local Enterprise Partnership).