Stoke & Staffordshire

Crewe town centre shopping arcade bought by council

The Royal Arcade, Crewe Image copyright Google
Image caption The Royal Arcade has been bought for £6m by Cheshire East Council

A shopping area in Crewe has been bought by a council as part of plans to improve the town centre.

The purchase of the Royal Arcade would cost the taxpayer £6m as there had not been enough interest from the private sector, Cheshire East Council said.

Some of the 27 retail units are empty and the council said the area's potential was "not being harnessed".

Attempts would be made to pay for the redevelopment through "external grant funding", said the authority.

The 4.6-acre site also houses the town's bus station, leased by Arriva.

'Kick-starting regeneration'

Leader of the Conservative-led council, Michael Jones, said he wanted "a cinema in the middle of Crewe - a big one".

The area was earmarked for redevelopment by the former Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council but plans were shelved in 2009.

Cheshire East Council said it was "the latest piece in the jigsaw" of its redevelopment plans.

Paul Coleman, chief executive of the South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce, said he hoped the £6m purchase would "kick-start the regeneration of the town centre".

Other developments in the town include a £15m community hub and the University Technical College, due to open in 2016.

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