"What more could we need?" - You have your say on Port Arcades ambitious plans

CheshireLive readers were keen to have their say on plans revealed this week for investment 'in the millions' for the Port Arcades. CheshireLive reported recently that the owners of the struggling shopping centre plan to "overhaul" the shopping centre.

The "substantial investment" will include a cosmetic refurbishment inside and out, rent-free deals for new tenants, the demolition of the "troubled" former B&M building, and new pop-up pubs and cafés on Marina Walk, according to David Holt, Redevelopment Director for Port Arcades owners, Adhan Group.

The announcement comes after Cheshire West and Chester Council began work on the new Ellesmere Port Market on May 13. The redevelopment, part of a successful £13 million Levelling-Up funding bid and due to be completed in 2025, would see a flexible event space in the Flea Market and improvements to the outside of the building.

READ MORE: Port Arcades owner promises investment 'in the millions' for struggling shopping centre | “We need to get the community back in, get tenants in, and get the place buzzing again"

READ: New Ellesmere Port market: Can the multi-million pound scheme help revitalise the town? Obvious comparisons are drawn with the new market in Chester - but does everyone agree it's what the town needs?

Readers took to the comments section after CheshireLive's report on the Port Arcades plans. Elly Gilmour was excited about the plans, saying: “Sounds Fabulous. Yes, [it would] be good to see a Primark and pop-up bar — clothes shopping and wine. What more could we need? Let's hope he can do what he's promising.”

Neil Bird yearns for a return to the Port of old, saying: “The Port needs to get back to the days when you could spend 2 or 3 hours walking ‘round going into shoe shops, clothes shops Curry's, Littlewoods, Woollies. Yes some of these shops are no longer with us but [we] need shops like them.

“We need to get away from paying for car parking, giving the first two or three hours free again, or it will never get back to anywhere like what it used to be”

Phill Grooby conquered, saying: “Free parking might help,” while Ray Mitchell was keen to reminisce, saying: “Hands up who's mum worked in the old Woollies? ... Mine did.”

Andy McInnes-Smylie had a different take on what the future of the town centre should look like, saying: “Shops are a dying breed, we don’t actually need them anymore. This scenario is be repeated in arcades all over the UK.

“We need a rethink about town centre redevelopment without the retail outlets”

Owen Mageean shared a similar idea, saying the town needs “a building to be used as an art gallery for artists to show their work. There are many local artists”

Steve Ure said: “[Ellesmere Port] needs a modern sports bar [so that] no matter the weather [we] can still sit outside with it being covered or just something to have live acts on, tributes or comedy as well.”

Lauren May Reilly described Ellesmere Port as being “a ghost town”, while Lee Cavanagh said of the Arcades “It was never buzzing when it was first built.” Pam Lennie laid the blame at the feet of changing shopping habits. “Blame online shopping there will be no shops the way is going,” she said.

Of the town’s present, Neleh Noo said: “There are just charity shops and cheap shops, nothing remotely high street that would make people come. Never even think of going to Ellesmere Port for stuff and it's so close.

“Would be great to see the investment and shops worth visiting. Parking needs to be free because pretty much all other retail parks are free. Granted town centres aren't generally free, but with so many other options the way things are, the port isn't even in the same league”

Steve Reece said: “The promise was that the developments at the outlet village and the Coliseum would not impact the centre of Ellesmere Port. The fact is that both of them have.

“Both the outlet village and the Coliseum have free parking which the town centre doesn't. They also have attractive shops that people come from some distance to visit, which the town centre doesn't.”

Pete Hensey was feeling downbeat about the plans: “This centre just needs demolition more than a lick of paint and background music. The roof leaks when [it’s] raining, the place has been like a greenhouse these past few days, doors [are] broken, shopping trolleys dumped everywhere, Asda and Aldi trolleys dumped by bus stops, down by the school entrance and down the side of Aldi .

“Needs a better connection between town centre and train station.”

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