Cheshire West & Chester’s cabinet will next week be asked to approve a public consultation on the development of Northwich’s Weaver Square, and a budget of £1.3m to aid lettings at Barons Quay, the town’s flagship retail scheme.
CWAC bought the mall in 2014, two years after its previous owner went into receivership. The council acquired Weaver Square to give it greater control in the area, ensuring development would dovetail with other projects, such as Barons Quay and the Memorial Court leisure scheme.
In 2016 it appointed architect Fletcher Rae to lead a multidisciplinary design team to produce a masterplan taking in Weaver Square, along with the police and bus stations, indoor and outdoor markets, information centre, Meadow Street Business Centre, and the Victoria Club car park.
The professional team has now delivered a masterplan that includes opportunities for new housing, a public service hub and improved public realm, all of which will complement the council’s investments to date, the local authority said. It is split into three broad zones: a public sector hub, a town square and mixed-use space; and housing to the west of the site, which could offer around 160 flats.
Cllr Brian Clarke, cabinet member for economic development and infrastructure at CWAC, said: “We want Northwich to be a town fit for the future and Weaver Square is looking very tired and not in keeping with our ambitious aspirations.
“Northwich has seen significant investment from the council, its partners and the private sector in recent years and the benefits of this investment are already being felt with a 10% increase in footfall to the town centre.
“If the proposals are approved, we will swiftly be able to move to share the masterplan for Weaver Square with local residents and businesses and help them to shape the next stage.”
Should councillors approve the report, a comprehensive consultation will commence in March and run for two months.
The cabinet report also outlines ideas for developing the town’s cultural offer, the future of the current market and its proposals for taking forward lettings at Barons Quay, the 225,000 sq ft scheme.
Barons Quay is anchored by Asda and Odeon but, targeting an “aspirational” tenant mix, has struggled to find further takers.
A budget request of £1.3m will be made, which could be used to promote events, together with creating improved signage and to fund a range of efforts to attract tenants, such as helping with professional fees and providing allowances for bespoke fit-outs.