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 from 2010 to 2018 can be downloaded (pdf document, 1.3 MB):

S106 Minutes 2010 – 2018

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. (The full plan proposed by TEP, the Public Realm Design Guide, can be seen here.) 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 S106 group had their final meeting in 2018. Following the sad death of Andy Williams in 2020, the following summary has been written by Rob Ward, who took minutes for the group for the last several years.

When the Sainsbury’s supermarket was built, £750,000 was paid in what is known as S106 compensation, to be spent on improvements in a closely defined area of Neston Town Centre. There was an additional £20,000 for public transport (upgrading bus stops in Brook Street and Ladies Walk) and £10,000 for town centre recycling facilities.

The Neston S106 Working Group was set up to recommend how the money should be spent. This was chaired initially by Cllr Scott Mealor, then by Cllr Andy Williams (who sadly died in 2020). Members also included representatives of Neston & District Chamber of Trade, Neston Community & Youth Centre, Neston Town Council, and community group ch64inc. Later, Neston Civic Society representatives joined as non-voting members. A succession of people came and went, only Carrie Spacey, representing the Chamber of Trade, being a member from beginning to end.

The money was given to Ellesmere Port & Neston Borough Council, which passed £482,066 (after enabling works had been funded) to Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Some enabling works were designed to alleviate parking issues, as Sainsbury’s was to be built on one of the town’s main car parks. Part of the fund (£93,000) was spent on improving Chester Road Car Park, Penningtons Weint, and Pykes Weint. The next batch (£210,000) was spent on Hinderton Road pedestrian Crossing, Sytchcroft park cycleway and lighting, Town Hall Frontage Scheme, Raby Road off-road Parking, and the Library Car Park.

The first scheme approved by the steering group was for Town Centre Maps to be produced, showing the locations of the existing businesses at the time, in part to alleviate concerns that the incoming supermarket would have a negative impact on smaller shops.  It was decided at the same time that £20,000 should be set aside for further marketing initiatives, with this ring-fenced sum subsequently moved across to Neston Town Council.

£25,000 had already been designated for a Town Centre Manager. Neston Town Council added to this sum, and employed Katy Pierce from June 2013 to July 2016. She developed the Friday Market, and S106 money was spent on new market stalls,though these have now been sold on.

Katy also developed Neston Cycle Town, which led, amongst other things, to a public bicycle pump being installed at The Cross, using S106 funds. A sub-group of the S106 committee was formed to assist Katy with marketing initiatives such as rebranding of the Market and window vinyls to cheer up empty shops, which showed photographs of local landmarks by Bernard Rose.

A contribution of £5000 was made towards the Neston Economic plan, published in January 2016. It recommended a Delivery Group with representatives of the Town Council and CWaC, local businesses, and the Parkgate visitor economy sector. It also advocated a Wirral Coast working group under the umbrella of the Mersey Dee Alliance.

The car park in Station Road, Neston, was resurfaced and extended, and better lighting installed. It is used by visitors to the shops in Bridge Street, Neston Community & Youth Centre, parents collecting children from Neston Primary School and visitors to the Wirral Way.

Another project funded by S106 was Snug Play equipment in 2012. This was used at Stanney Fields fun days, in the Market Square and at the Village Fair.

In 2010 CWaC employed a company called TEP to ask local people their opinions on how the centre of Neston could be improved. The Public Realm Design Guide (PRDG) contained plans for improved footpaths, lorry delivery bays, town furniture and public art, plus a number of other town centre improvements to create a better environment for the public, and to boost town centre trade.

The first of these improvements was new heritage-style lamp posts in the centre of Neston, incorporating brackets for hanging baskets and fittings for Christmas lights.

The plan for the centre of Neston was publicised on the 19th and 20th of April 2013 at This Is Neston, a two-day event in the Market Square, when residents were invited to give their views.

In 2014, improvements to The Cross cost £277,000 (with an extra £54,000 from CWaC). The main scheme saw the installation of York Stone paving in part of the town centre and wider pavements, especially near the Town Hall. There was a new bench, and the Bushell Fountain was cleaned. The roadway was slightly raised, and paving showed points where pedestrians often cross the road, since when many drivers wait for people to cross.

In 2015 the S106 fund paid for 23 art panels in the Market Square, displaying artwork by local primary schoolchildren, and for lighting bars for the Civic Hall, along with a portable one. Money was also given for five finger posts, to direct pedestrians around Neston town centre.

In 2017 Chester Road car park was further improved, by widening the entrance from Chester Road, at a cost of £14,000.

In 2018, £90,000 was spent refurbishing Sytchcroft Park, with new play facilities.

Finally, since the contents of litter bins are now sorted, and suitable material recycled, the money earmarked for recycling was spent on new bins for the town centre.

Glasdon Jubilee bin

The final account can be downloaded as a pdf: S106 Final Spend.