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Barons Quay plans divide opinion
RESIDENTS are being urged to see plans for the multi-million pound regeneration of Northwich for themselves and join the debate.
A presentation detailing the ambitious Barons Quay scheme, which includes a multi-screen cinema, new shop and restaurant units, a supermarket, petrol station, hotel and new public spaces, will be given at Northwich Memorial Hall on Thursday, February 7.
Catherine Fox, Weaver Valley team leader, will talk about the plans, which proved controversial before they were officially submitted to Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC).
Traders, residents and councillors agree that action needs to be taken to help Northwich town centre, but conflict comes over the shape of that action.
Weaver Vale MP Graham Evans called a number of representatives from the public, private and voluntary sectors to discuss concerns and this has led to the formation of The Northwich Group.
Mike Cooksley, spokesman for the group, said: “Although we recognise that the current trading environment is an issue for the whole country, Northwich is particularly badly affected with more than 70 non-domestic properties currently empty in the town.
“Although we support Cheshire West and Chester’s intentions regarding new developments and the recent street improvements we question the recent piecemeal development approach being taken on the fringes of the town.
“The two local authorities, Northwich Town Council and Cheshire West and Chester, seem unable to co-ordinate any approach to lessening the almost terminal decline in the town.”
Mike said the group was also concerned about extra retail space being created when there are so many empty units.
But Clr Gaynor Sinar, a CWAC councillor, trader and founder member of Northwich Independent Retailers Association (NIRA), said Northwich should welcome the plans with open arms.
“The amount of money CWAC is investing in Northwich is unprecedented,” she said.
“I’ve lived here for 40 years and have never seen new development in Northwich, but you can see things happening now.
“It’s a downward spiral if we don’t get behind this as a community and Northwich can’t miss out.
“Where we’ve got CWAC support, let’s embrace it, if money is coming from Chester, let’s have it.”
She said Catherine Fox planned to show a computer generated ‘walk through’ of the new Barons Quay at the community forum, which takes place from 6pm.
The Northwich Group also wants to know opinions on Barons Quay and to contact the group email firstname.lastname@example.org.