Barons Quay development approved

David McCourt

Cheshire West & Chester Council's strategic planning committee has unanimously approved the £80m riverside Barons Quay development in Northwich.

The council's scheme will provide a cinema, major food store, hotel, restaurants, bars, shops, petrol station and additional free car parking.

It is hoped that work will begin on site by autumn 2014 and be completed by the end of 2016.

A £32m programme completed in 2007 stabilised the abandoned mines in the area by replacing millions of litres of brine with a mixture of pulverised fuel ash and cement. Barons Quay

Cllr Herbert Manley, executive member for prosperity, 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."

Cllr Gaynor Sinar, of Davenham and Moulton, told the meeting: "As a local retailer of 10 years, and the founder of Northwich Independent Retailers Association, the promise of this development is keeping me and several other businesses going in the hope of better days."

Cllr Amy Mercer-Bailey, of Winnington and Castle, told the committee: "Northwich I have heard many times be described as the hidden gem of Cheshire, and this development and the others in the pipeline are the start of making Northwich town less hidden, more attractive for people to visit and more viable in the future.

"For a long time now Northwich has needed some positive developments to help drag it into the 21st century and appealing for visitors to the area. I firmly believe that the Barons Quay development is the start of something exciting that has the potential to make the town great again."

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. Barons Quay

Matt Brook, director at architecture, planning and design practice Broadway Malyan, said: "The planning green light is a major milestone in the creation of a unique visitor destination that capitalises on Northwich's waterfront and parkland setting and references Northwich's industrial heritage as a fully integrated extension to the town centre.

"It is testament to our close partnering with Cheshire West & Chester Council and the wider project team, and will result in the delivery of a series of simple elegant buildings, providing a backdrop to a significant quantity of new public realm."

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

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Majority of northwich residents don’t want this scheme as the supermarket is massive and has carparking on top what an eyesore! The new buildings don’t have any character not like our black and white ones and the road infrastructure is a total nightmare. Cheshire west and Chester council – a total waste of space!

By Tony

The majority of Northwich residents do want this scheme; a very vocal minority shout louder than everybody else in opposition and seem to think that you can progress through mindlessly reproducing what stood before. There’s no greater way to dilute interesting old buildings than by surrounding them with pastiche. Look at the drawings & images which have been published many times; the supermarket is ‘buried’ behind shop fronts, similar in principle to how the indoor market is so it doesn’t seem like there is one massive building, just a row of shops. Putting the car parking on the roof (which will be behind a façade) is a very sensible use of space, probably half the ground in town centre is given to car parking at the moment, a ridiculous waste of space. The road infrastructure isn’t up to it at the moment, you’re right but there are projects in the pipeline to alter junctions and roundabouts to alleviate that. I’m really tired of the cynicism and pessimism surrounding this; Northwich is a sinking ship that will go down without this scheme, simple as. I can’t wait for a much more interesting updated town for my kids to grow up in rather than have the decay and perpetual boredom that I did growing up here. My parents (in their 60’s & 70’s) are all for it too as they remember Northwich when it had a bit of vitality to it several decades ago and are tired of watching the gradual decline.

By Ian