Crewe investment rising

Investment in Crewe has taken another giant leap forward, with redevelopment of one of the town’s night time venues about to rise – quite literally – sky high.

The Royal Hotel complex on Nantwich Road – encompassing accommodation, The Corner Bar, The Box music venue and Bar 7 – has seen a classy refurbishment progressed on the back of grand plans to redevelop part of the site ahead of HS2.

Like many others I was sad to see The Box end its promotion of local, up-and-coming bands last year. There were several attempts to establish the venue as the go-to place for live music. Perhaps its peak was around 2010, when it jostled for top spot alongside the fading Limelight, Dantes Rock venue and the M Club. One by one, they have all disappeared.

Although there’s a promise to continue utilising The Box over the coming months, longer-term plans (lodged with CEC HERE) aim to deliver a purpose-built eight level multi-storey car park with 385 spaces that will serve both hotel quests and rail passengers departing from Crewe station.

Royal Hotel, Crewe - plans by Carey Jones Chapman Tolcher
Royal Hotel, Crewe – plans by Carey Jones Chapman Tolcher

The artist’s impression looks stunning. There is a sense of scale, quality and the future about the proposed building. It will sit opposite the entrance to the Network Rail car parks that sprawl alongside the tracks towards town. Perhaps this will see them also raise their game?

In fact, it would be great to see the stretch from Crewe railway station to Tesco and the Heritage Centre redeveloped on the back of HS2 investment. Imagine glittering offices, retail and public open space straddling the lines for all to see as passengers arrive and depart by train. It would be a cracking advert for Crewe. And why not? Crewe can be a destination, not just a change point.

The Corner Bar, Crewe (8)

Chatting to the new Cheshire-based owners/developers after the Crewe vs Morecambe match, it was obvious they want to create something different on the corner of Pedley Street. The tired hotel is being upgraded, and there are ideas to bring events, conferences and celebrations to Bar 7.

The Corner Bar itself looks decent. It’s a sports bar, plenty of screens, open spaces, an impressive range of beers, lagers and spirits, with a nod to craft and cask ales without trying to compete with the likes of Beer Dock and Hops.

The Corner Bar, Crewe (5)

What it does is give the Nantwich Road night economy a much-needed boost. It’s the first pub/building visitors see as they walk down from the station. Instead of looking shabby it already looks polished, with much more to come. Add another decent restaurant, perhaps another quality bar, and this spot will be back in the game.

Hopefully, such investment will be embraced by Cheshire East Council and the other powerhouse planners and partners as the Crewe Masterplan is progressed, whatever that might be. The dots MUST be joined up, and that means grabbing the Mill Street corridor by the balls and getting it sorted.

The Royal Hotel refurbishment is a positive step forward, with the Beer Dock investment in High Street progressing quickly and attracting other buyer/investors, plus a start to the town centre redevelopment finally on the horizon. There’s been loads of chatter, but things ARE happening.

The Corner Bar, Crewe (7)

There is an opportunity for so many of Crewe’s businesses, planners, thinkers and potential investors to transform this town. They just need to keep talking, listening to the public, and start delivering something that everyone can see and celebrate.

I love the plans that have been revealed for Pedley Street. Crewe is a mid-sized town, but the sheer scale of the high-rise plans offer hope that the town will be taken to new levels over the coming decade.

The Corner Bar, Crewe (1)

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Jules Hornbrook writes articles about Cheshire and Lancashire, plus content for business websites.

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