THE fate of Northwich's subway will rest in the hands of its residents this November.

An eight-week public consultation will ask for views on a proposal to fill the underpass in – at a cost of £500,000.

Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) suggested the move as part of its work to develop Memorial Court and its surroundings.

Northwich Town Council expressed its concerns with the plan and is now working with CWAC to run the consultation.

Clr Andrew Cooper said: "I hope the people of Northwich respond to the survey because filling the subway in is the least imaginative thing.

"It's so dull and expensive.

"In the big pit you could have an outdoor theatre, you could do anything with it."

Clr Kevin Rimmer said: "There was a £250,000 figure quoted and now that's jumped up to £500,000.

"There are much better ways of spending half a million quid than filling in two subways."

The underpass runs beneath Chesterway, providing a traffic free route between Weaver Square Shopping Centre, Memorial Court and the former council office site.

CWAC has proposed filling it in and replacing it with a pelican crossing.

A crossing has already been installed as part of work to make the gyratory system permanent, although this crossing is not yet in use.

Clr Derek Bowden: "If you have a gyratory to speed the flow of the traffic up then putting a pedestrian crossing in with lights isn't going to help."

Councillors also discussed the gyratory system in general as members are concerned about narrow lanes and tight bends.

Clr Janet Illidge said: "I was told when you come off Town Bridge into the Bull Ring there will be sufficient road way to accommodate two lanes of traffic.

"I asked if two buses could go through without a problem and was told yes."

Clr Brian Cooke said that heavy goods vehicles would struggle on the bridge and in the Bull Ring and Clr Rimmer pointed out that new railings at the corner of Chesterway and Castle Hill have already been damaged.

The council agreed to write to CWAC to express its continuing concerns.