Watling St Northwich Galliford Try

Northwich land sale paves way for Weaver Square demolition

Charlie Schouten

Galliford Try Partnerships has taken possession of the former council offices at Watling Street, allowing Cheshire West & Chester Council to begin demolition work on Weaver Square “as early as March”.

Galliford Try has taken over a site previously home to Cheshire County Council operations in Northwich, which was also used as an adult day care centre before being vacated in 2016.

The developer and contractor will bring forward a scheme designed by Pozzoni, which secured planning permission in November last year, after first being refused planning permission earlier in late 2017 on design grounds.

This includes a series of blocks including 70 apartments for the over 55s, with a mix of 16 one-beds and 54-two beds.

Galliford Try’s land deal with the council will allow demolition of existing buildings begin. The site sits near Weaver Square, where Cheshire West & Chester Council is bringing forward a residential-led masterplan designed by architect Fletcher Rae, in partnership with Public Sector Plc.

Cllr Brian Clarke, cabinet member for economic development and infrastructure, said demolition work at Weaver Square could begin “as early as March” following the land deal.

Weaver Square, which is largely made up of vacant retail units, was acquired by the council in 2014 after its previous owner ceased trading in 2012.

Core to the proposals are two zones of residential development including buildings of up to four storeys in height, which could deliver up to 160 units in total. The mix of homes has yet to be determined but options include apartments, duplexes, and town houses.

While Weaver Square has 66,000 sq ft of retail, this is to be “significantly reduced” under the masterplan.

A food hall, which the council said would be “similar” to Altrincham Market and Manchester’s Mackie Mayor, is also being considered for the site, and would be targeted at local suppliers, pop-up food suppliers, and microbreweries.

Clarke added: “The new development at Watling Street will totally transform that part of the town and will enable the council to begin partial demolition of Weaver Square as early as March, providing increased visibility for the existing shops and traders.

“This is yet another step towards our wider vision for Northwich, to create a vibrant town centre that our residents can be proud of.”

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CW&C need to wake up and realise that retail schemes are not the way to stimulate investment anymore. Northwich could be a fantastic town if investment in its transport infrastructure was paramount in order to attract commuters and professionals.

By CheshireDeveloper

Any focus on better transport links and housing for young professionals so that Northwich town centre could offer a nightlife economy? Great new venues opening but taxis are few and far between and busses stop very early. Northwich dies daily at around 4pm! The vision for Northwich seems to lurch towards being one big reitement village, plan for the younger generations too.

By Matthew Stockall

So where does it say it’s a retail scheme. In fact it says the opposite.

By Graham Emmett