Barons Quay decision imminent

David McCourt

Cheshire West & Chester Council's strategic planning committee will consider a Barons Quay development report on Thursday 21 March.

Features of the project include a multi-screen cinema, food store, shops, cafes, restaurant, hotel and extra car parking.

A report to be considered by the strategic planning committee says that despite a change in economic circumstances since the scheme was originally adopted, it remains deliverable and that there is active interest from within the retail and leisure sectors.

An impact study commissioned by Cheshire West reported that the Barons Quay area development would not have an adverse effect on the performance of the town centre.

The report also claims regenerative benefits to Northwich. It states: "The redevelopment of this site will bring major benefits to the town, not only visually, bringing back into use this much underused and run down part of the town centre, but providing space for the town to grow economically, creating opportunities for shopping and leisure and greater access to the much underutilised river frontage."

The report also states the project would reflect the industrial heritage and timber-framed black and white buildings which are characteristic of Northwich.

The Northwich waterfront cinema will have vertical glazing and black reflective bricks that the report claims will add vibrancy to the town, especially at night.

Places Matter, an organisation that offers advice to public and private sector clients regarding new developments, reviewed the proposal and commented that it was appropriate for the site.

The proposal includes the provision of 1,159 car parking spaces and parking for 278 cycles to replace the current 794 spaces on the site.

Significant development of Northwich town centre had previously been delayed due to subsidence fears, which were addressed with a £32m project completed in 2007 to fill abandoned salt mines beneath the town centre.

Cllr Herbert Manley, executive member for prosperity, who represents a Northwich ward, said: "The Barons Quay development will create jobs and prosperity for the area and is a significant part of an overall scheme to improve the lifestyle and prospects of our residents.

"The proposals are designed to enhance the existing businesses not to damage them with the new development embracing the river frontage and integrating with the traditional shopping areas."

The 8.26-acre site is bounded by Weaver Navigation, Witton Street and High Street, and the Matalan and Sainsbury's stores.

Cheshire West & Chester Council has appointed building consultants Rider Levett Bucknall, architects Broadway Malyan, and Lambert Smith Hampton and Tushingham Moore as letting and investment agents to deliver the scheme.

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I do hope this is delivered to plan and everything goes smoothly. It is a major project the area needs and fast!

By JaneHR

I agree; there seems to be a vocal minority (and I mean minority and very vocal) who are opposed to the scheme and seem to be deluded into thinking Northwich is a quaint little Cheshire market town rather than a run down post-industrial town in decline. If this doesn’t go ahead the future is very bleak for Northwich and I seriously doubt I’ll be sticking around to let my kids grow up surrounded by decline and neglect.
Northwich has great potential that this scheme can help to deliver.