When the Sainsbury’s supermarket was built, about £750,000 was paid to be spent on improvements in a closely defined area of Neston Town Centre. Cheshire West & Chester council set up the Neston S106 Working Group to recommend how this should be spent.
Minutes of meetings can be downloaded (pdf documents, 30 – 60 KB):
Councillor Andy Williams wrote this summary in April 2012:
When the planning application for Sainsbury’s was approved, part of the deal was a £750,000 fund for town centre improvements. This fund is called the section 106 fund. When I became a councillor I was lucky enough to be voted in as the chairman of the committee which decides how this money should be used.
Part of the fund had already been spent as set out below
- Chester Road Car Park
- Penningtons Weint
- Pykes Weint
Contract Spend: £93,000
- Hinderton Road Safe Crossing
- Sytchcroft park cycleway and lighting
- Town Hall Frontage Scheme
- Raby Road Off Road Parking
- Library Car Park
Contract Spend: £210,000
This has left a balance of around £480,000 and the Cheshire West and Chester Council employed a company called TEP to run an event to ask local people to give their opinions on what they would like the money to be spent on.
These results were collated and a document called the Public Realm Design Guide (*PRDG) was produced. This document contains plans for improved footpaths, wagon delivery bays, town furniture and public art, plus a number of other town centre improvements suggested which might create a better environment for the public and hopefully boost town centre trade. The first of these improvements will be new heritage-style lamp posts in the centre of Neston, these incorporate brackets for hanging baskets and fittings for Christmas lights. There are also to be improvements to the Station Road car park to act as an overflow for the popular Neston Community and Youth Centre.
A more controversial issue is the plan to move the Bushell Memorial at The Cross to create a seated area outside the Natwest Bank in the centre of Neston. This will mean that there will only be one lane coming up Parkgate road instead of the two lanes there at present, one dedicated to turning left. I have concerns as to how this might affect the flow of traffic from Parkgate, particularly at busy times, so I have yet to be persuaded that this is the right idea but it does look very smart and would improve the look of the cross immensely however it would take a sizeable chunk out of the budget. I would therefore, urge everyone to take time to look at these plans and email me with their opinions.
Andy Williams wrote this update in May 2013:
The plan for the centre of Neston was publicised on the 19th and 20th of April at This Is Neston.
I think the schemes which have been decided will make a difference. The main scheme will see improved paving in the town centre and slightly wider pavements, especially near the Town Hall. There will be new benches and litter bins and the Bushell Fountain will be cleaned. The road will be level with the footpaths around The Cross to make it more pedestrian-friendly, especially for pushchairs, wheelchairs and shopping trolleys. This should be completed by April 2014 when we celebrate 200 years since the Neston Female (Friendly) Society was established. There was a mistake in the plans displayed in the Town Hall: the pedestrian refuge between across the High Street by Neston Cross will not be removed. This must stay at this wide and busy crossing point.
Another scheme due to start soon is the Station Road car park. The area will be resurfaced, capacity increased and better lighting installed. It will be useful for visitors to the shops in Bridge Street, and will provide extra parking for visitors to Neston Community and Youth Centre, for parents collecting children from Neston Primary School and for visitors to the Wirral Way.
Other projects funded by S106, some of which have already been delivered, are:
- new market stalls
- Snug Play equipment
- upgraded town centre street lighting
- improved signage and wayfaring
- part-funding of a new Town Centre Manager
(*The full plan proposed by TEP, the Public Realm Design Guide, can be seen here.)