Across Britain many town centres are in decline. Knutsford too must take steps to ensure its long term vitality and economic prosperity. We need to preserve and develop the town’s distinctive character – its ‘unique selling points’ – the qualities and experiences which draw people to shop and socialise here, to live, work and visit here.
The Knutsford Neighbourhood Plan – approved by public vote in 2019 – promised to develop a ‘Masterplan’ for the town centre. As a first stage, making the town more pedestrian-friendly, with less hazard and pollution from slow moving traffic in our main shopping and dining streets, would clear the way for the possible development of small public squares and other amenities.
Following years of complaints about the hazards of traffic in the narrow streets and difficulty in finding a parking space, a Town Council working group has developed proposals to deal with the twin problems of too many cars in King and Princess Streets, and too few parking spaces at busy times.
The consultation ran from 5th February to 13th March 2020.
What we propose
The scheme has three inter-related aspects as described in the video and the ‘From Top to Bottom Street’ report:
- Limit traffic travelling along King and Princess Street by blocking a short section of each so that vehicles cannot drive straight through. Changes would be made to the one-way streets and to the traffic lights by the police station. A new entrance into the car park behind Waitrose would be made from the A50 King Edward Road.
- Make better use of existing public parking areas, and encourage development of one or two well-designed multi-storey car parks with offices or apartments above.
- Have fewer parked cars in King and Princess Streets, and enforce the ‘no parking’ regulations.
These changes would give pedestrians a better experience of being in town, and allow the development of Canute Place and the short road in front of The Lost and Found as public spaces.
When will this happen?
It may not happen. It depends on the people of Knutsford – shop and business owners, town centre residents, people who work here, and the Knutsford public – getting behind the scheme. Cheshire East Council must fully support it too. Each building development will need the the land and property owners and development companies to invest.
Some changes could be made within a few months, though it could all take several years to complete. The ideas would be implemented in stage, with specific consultation and approval required on each.