THE contractor set to change the face of Northwich town centre has been announced.

Balfour Beatty Construction Ltd has been appointed to build the £80million Barons Quay scheme, which includes an Asda supermarket and five-screen Odeon cinema.

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s (CWAC) executive group approved the appointment at their meeting on Wednesday, July 16.

The contract start date of September 1 will enable Balfour Beatty to start pre-site work in autumn with the first phase of the development expected to be completed by autumn 2016.

Clr Eveleigh Moore Dutton, CWAC’s executive member for resources, said: “The appointment of Balfour Beatty followed a rigorous selection procedure and I am delighted to welcome them on board.

“The company has a strong track record in delivering projects of this nature.

“This is a key milestone in the delivery of a major development project that will create jobs, vibrancy and prosperity, and ultimately transform Northwich into one of the north west’s busiest market towns.”

The 26-acre brownfield site will also include restaurants, shops, new public realm spaces and car parking.

The development is expected to create 1,200 jobs.

Clr Moore Dutton added: “We are committed to working with the companies to ensure as many of the jobs as possible go to local people, building on the success of Waitrose where 85 percent of the jobs were won by local people – 50 percent of whom were previously unemployed.”

The second sequence of Barons Quay, which includes further shops and residential units, is expected to be finished in 2017.

Clr Paul Dolan said: “The appointment of Balfour Beatty is excellent news for Northwich, bringing us another step closer to the long-awaited regeneration of our town.

“In just a few months’ time local residents will finally be able to see work starting on site as this neglected quarter of the town centre is transformed into something very exciting.

“It is important for the residents and traders in Northwich to know that during the construction phase all efforts will be made to minimise disruption in the town centre, including the provision of alternative, if temporary, parking provision.”