CONSTRUCTION has started on Northwich’s new £13.7 million culture and lifestyle centre.

A pile driver can be seen looming over the site, in Chesterway, where the new Memorial Court is being built.

Construction teams working on the complex, which will include a swimming pool and theatre, have laid a piling mattress made from recycled crushed stone from the demolition of Northwich Memorial Hall and the magistrates’ court.

This holds the weight of the piling rig which will install over 800 vertical concrete columns to improve the strength of the building’s foundations.

During the initial dig, two culverts measuring three metres wide and three metres deep were unearthed running north to south, situated approximately under the line of the plaza which separated the memorial hall and magistrates’ court.

These are believed to be part of ‘The Cut’, shown on historical mapping, which was a narrow water channel connecting the River Dane to Northwich town centre.

The culverts – which were blocked with silt, branches and other debris – were removed as part of the preparation for the piling works as they were unsuitable to build on.

Clr Stuart Parker, Cheshire West and Chester Council’s executive member for culture and economy, said: “Now the demolition works are complete we are able to start preparing the ground for construction.

“From early next year, local residents will start to notice some real changes on site as this exciting development starts to take shape.”

The piling works are expected to continue into January, with a two-week break over Christmas and the New Year.