Northwich Masterplan Area

Northwich high on CWAC’s February agenda

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.

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Northwich a fantastic opportunity. Shame about the great white elephant horror of Barons Quay. Inappropriate development if ever there was some.

By WiseOwl

Weaver square district isn’t 15 units it’s more like 50 units.

Cheshire west and Chester council have made a massive cock up on the barons quay development 28 units and only one filled. Northwich and its residents never wanted to be shoved in with Cheshire west and Chester council as we all new it would be a massive mistake and has ultimately proved so! now as a council they are trying to reck another part of our town! without proper consultation. Most residents in our town are still awaiting resignations from Cheshire west councillors over this massive mistake!

By Northwich

HMS Victory was a flagship. It proved to have an enduring legacy. The same cannot be said for Barons Quay. This scheme is a disaster. It should never have been built but CWAC believed “they could deliver where market forces were failing”. In truth they needed to justify spending £30m filling in a big hole. If they hadn’t been so arrogant, they might have listened to the residents and focused on regenerating Weaver Square Shopping Centre (not a District Centre by any test). Still it’s comforting to know that the lessons they learnt from building vacant shops are being applied to good effect to build more vacant shops in Chester. I am so pleased to be a CWAC Rate payer.

By Monty

Let me get this straight, £1.3m will be used to subsidise the fitting out costs of private businesses. Presumably, this money has been raised from local business rates. Is that fair on those local businesses who pay the rates?

By Tilly

Totally agree VALE ROYAL BC. (mid cheshire) northwich should never of be merged in with cheshire west! we should of been part of cheshire east! but in respect to weaver square and barons quay

Barons quay has been a disaster because the wrong people were making the wrong decisions if they would of consulted with the right people in northwich it would of being a totally different project!

In respect to weaver square and immediate area will cheshire west and chester council learn from there mistakes and listen to the people of northwich for once! because as a main northwest town we cannot afford making another mistake!

By rob cw8

Copy amended re size of Weaver Square. Thanks for comments.

By Neil Tague