SECTION 3: TOWN CENTRE
The Neighbourhood Plan and the Town Centre
Chapel-en-le-Frith town centre is the centre of activity for both the town and the Parish and, with 63 shops, retailing is the predominant land-use, attracting people from a wide area. It also has a diverse range of restaurants, pubs and hot food takeaways which, with nearby tourist attractions, bring both local residents and visitors to the town centre. It is the place of work for local people and there are also many homes in the town centre.
The historic and attractive Market Place and the surrounding streets are the main focal point of the town, being the centre of the Conservation Area and so having the right image on which to base future opportunities for developing the tourist and heritage potential of this part of High Peak. The town centre is within easy walking distance of all parts of the town, leading to a ‘compact town’ ethos, where walking and cycling can be encouraged as the norm for routine journeys.
Re-invigorating the town centre is a major aim of this Plan. Like many other towns, it faces great challenges as a result of changing shopping habits. The Plan defines the geographical extent of the town centre, and then identifies policies that promote a diverse range of facilities and services, but with retailing continuing to dominate, giving the maximum flexibility to respond to development opportunities as they happen, whilst improving the important historical character of the town centre.
This Neighbourhood Plan aims to create a climate in which investment will be made to maintain and develop a wide range of businesses and local facilities. The range of quality independent shops needs to be maintained and expanded. Shopper attraction and retailer co-help schemes will be important in this regard – an example of projects being owned, directed and driven by the community. We also need to capitalise on the unspoilt historical nature of the town centre to develop tourism, for which the development of visitor attractions will be important.
Together, the policies aim to ensure that:
- The Market Place achieves its full potential, making the most of the attractive historical heritage of the market place area and its surroundings;
- Mixed use development adds to the vitality of the town centre;
- There is a coherent parking strategy, providing sufficient spaces in the right places;
- Visitors can identify attractions and find their way around.