Does new group hold the quay?

The alternative vision for Barons Quay features development on both sides of the river and a footbridge linking the two.

The alternative vision for Barons Quay features development on both sides of the river and a footbridge linking the two.

First published in News Northwich Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

AN ALTERNATIVE vision of Barons Quay is being put forward by a group of residents who want to know what others really think.

Members of the group, spearheaded by the River Weaver Navigation Society (RWNS), say they are disappointed with the proposals put forward by Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) for the long-awaited regeneration project.

Barnton man John Tackley, chairman of RWNS, said: “We are mounting a campaign to say we think these proposals are inadequate and are not embracing the whole town, which we think they should.”

The group, which organised the Northwich River Weaver Festival in the summer, has a number of concerns, from the proposed architecture and layout of the Barons Quay scheme to the distance between it and the site of the proposed lifestyle centre.

Artist Diana Bernice Tackley, John’s wife, said: “The proposals from the council show city centre architecture, it’s not really architecture for a small market town.

“We are a very attractive market town and we are seeking to maintain the character of the town.

“As a group we are in danger of appearing to be very fuddy-duddy and that’s not what we want to be, we just want to keep the reason intact for people to come and visit Northwich, like they would visit Nantwich.”

Jim Mole, a fellow member of the group, said: “What we want is a pretty and attractive riverside town.”

John said: “We really do think we are unbiased in that we just want the best for Northwich and don’t believe the best is being offered.”

The group has launched its own consultation to find out what residents think of the current proposals compared to its own vision.

The consultation is available online at Baronsquay.questionpro.com.

A CWAC spokesman said: "We are on the verge of the largest investment Northwich will have seen in half a century – involving well over £100 million – with an exciting, detailed, costed and achievable scheme, which has already attracted strong interest commercially.

"The proposed Barons Quay development, has received a very positive report from the Places Matter Design Review – a regional panel of impartial environmental and urban design experts – and is expected to go to planning application within the next couple of months.

"However, we are considering all representations made during the recent consultation process and indeed consideration has already been given to comments received on opening up the river front for pedestrians, with Weaver way being improved; new public spaces by the river and links to Carey park improved.

"In addition a pontoon with moorings is identified which the Council will seek to deliver in partnership with British Waterways."

Comments (8)

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11:01am Wed 10 Oct 12

L Byrne says...

Based on what is shown in the picture at the top of this article, I believe that the 'alternative vision' is absolutely brilliant. The local people who produced it are to be congratulated and thanked.


I hope that the residents of Northwich will give it their full support and that the ugly proposal which CWAC and their commercial partners are pushing
is thrown in the rubbish bin where it belongs.

The key thing now is to make the Council listen and stop their bandwagon which is rolling ahead given the weasel words of their spokesman.

it really comes down to whether we want an ASDA store plonked on the most attractive site in OUR town centre or something like the scene depicted in the picture. I know which I prefer and believe what the people of Northwich really want.

Why not give us a choice by organising a simple vote or local referendum?
Based on what is shown in the picture at the top of this article, I believe that the 'alternative vision' is absolutely brilliant. The local people who produced it are to be congratulated and thanked. I hope that the residents of Northwich will give it their full support and that the ugly proposal which CWAC and their commercial partners are pushing is thrown in the rubbish bin where it belongs. The key thing now is to make the Council listen and stop their bandwagon which is rolling ahead given the weasel words of their spokesman. it really comes down to whether we want an ASDA store plonked on the most attractive site in OUR town centre or something like the scene depicted in the picture. I know which I prefer and believe what the people of Northwich really want. Why not give us a choice by organising a simple vote or local referendum? L Byrne
  • Score: 0

8:44pm Wed 10 Oct 12

Anonamatty says...

Actually using the river to enhance the town seems to be frowned upon by CWAC planners, look at the pocket park behind McDonalds which blocks the river view once the weeds have grown, the riverside path in Carey Park with trees/shrubs blocking the river view, the kingsmead apartments overlooking the river that were refused permission for balconies and now have tiny kitchen windows so the river view can't be enjoyed unless washing the pots, the prime location by the Regal cinema that will become a supermarket(they WILL NOT be bothered about showing off the river).

There have been numerous other opportunities missed so to see the image above is very pleasing indeed, most towns can only dream of having two rivers smack bang in the centre and I'm sure would not waste the chance to show them off with places to eat and drink on the waters edge.

It gets my vote.
Actually using the river to enhance the town seems to be frowned upon by CWAC planners, look at the pocket park behind McDonalds which blocks the river view once the weeds have grown, the riverside path in Carey Park with trees/shrubs blocking the river view, the kingsmead apartments overlooking the river that were refused permission for balconies and now have tiny kitchen windows so the river view can't be enjoyed unless washing the pots, the prime location by the Regal cinema that will become a supermarket(they WILL NOT be bothered about showing off the river). There have been numerous other opportunities missed so to see the image above is very pleasing indeed, most towns can only dream of having two rivers smack bang in the centre and I'm sure would not waste the chance to show them off with places to eat and drink on the waters edge. It gets my vote. Anonamatty
  • Score: 0

10:34pm Wed 10 Oct 12

WHS says...

Yes but will it match the new Incinerator being built at Lostock which will be massive and have a chimney as high as Blackpool Tower? (Okay I am exaggerating a bit, but only a bit). The Vision for Northwich will be totally blighted by the Incinerator so it won't really matter what the riverside looks like because any one with any sense will be leaving the town ASAP if they can.
WHS.
That said, it looks wonderful and I am all for it.
WHS.
Yes but will it match the new Incinerator being built at Lostock which will be massive and have a chimney as high as Blackpool Tower? (Okay I am exaggerating a bit, but only a bit). The Vision for Northwich will be totally blighted by the Incinerator so it won't really matter what the riverside looks like because any one with any sense will be leaving the town ASAP if they can. WHS. That said, it looks wonderful and I am all for it. WHS. WHS
  • Score: 0

10:40pm Wed 10 Oct 12

L Byrne says...

Anonamatty

You make some excellent points but the problem is that the almighty planners will not listen to them. They are obsessed with their lunatic vision that there are thousands of people around the area who are desperate to flood into Northwich to fill their shopping trolleys. Even if it means driving past places like Winsford, Middlewich and Knutsford where, guess what, even more supermarkets are going up!

Apparently having at least six retail supermarkets available where they buy their cornflakes and toilet rolls just ain't enough. They must have another one, an ASDA twice the size of Sainsbury's, right in the most attractive part of the town.

You could not make it up.

Funny, I have this old fashioned view that we elect the councillors and they rule the council and instruct the council officers like planners, 'public servants' remember,what to do for the public. So let's hope that our councillors take note of the groundswell of opinion against their awful Baron's Quay development proposal, and for a change tell the planners to give us something that we actually want.
Anonamatty You make some excellent points but the problem is that the almighty planners will not listen to them. They are obsessed with their lunatic vision that there are thousands of people around the area who are desperate to flood into Northwich to fill their shopping trolleys. Even if it means driving past places like Winsford, Middlewich and Knutsford where, guess what, even more supermarkets are going up! Apparently having at least six retail supermarkets available where they buy their cornflakes and toilet rolls just ain't enough. They must have another one, an ASDA twice the size of Sainsbury's, right in the most attractive part of the town. You could not make it up. Funny, I have this old fashioned view that we elect the councillors and they rule the council and instruct the council officers like planners, 'public servants' remember,what to do for the public. So let's hope that our councillors take note of the groundswell of opinion against their awful Baron's Quay development proposal, and for a change tell the planners to give us something that we actually want. L Byrne
  • Score: 0

10:14pm Fri 12 Oct 12

Sue Statham says...

Well done to these residents. This is far more pleasing to the eye. We are a market town and as such, I agree that it is important to keep the character of the town, or rather the town as I remember it a good few years ago. Then it had a busy market and a much greater variety of shops. I will be accessing the consultation online at Baronsquay.questionp
ro.com
Let's create an individual development of Northwich and not let it become a clone of a vast number of other towns in the U.K.
Could I just say to the people holding the purse strings, as a priority you should sort out the problem with the drains !!!!
Well done to these residents. This is far more pleasing to the eye. We are a market town and as such, I agree that it is important to keep the character of the town, or rather the town as I remember it a good few years ago. Then it had a busy market and a much greater variety of shops. I will be accessing the consultation online at Baronsquay.questionp ro.com Let's create an individual development of Northwich and not let it become a clone of a vast number of other towns in the U.K. Could I just say to the people holding the purse strings, as a priority you should sort out the problem with the drains !!!! Sue Statham
  • Score: 0

3:45pm Sat 13 Oct 12

Jack Hay says...

There are a couple of snags with the RWNS idea, which I admit looks rather pretty. One, Northwich has never been a 'market town'. That means a town which grew up as a trading centre, primarily for agriculture. Our town has been a chemical industry town since Roman times. Every town has a market and shops, but not every town is a market town. So this proposal is a pastiche, trying to make Northwich into something it isn't. Two, the uncomfortable fact of the CWAC proposal is that the big sites - supermarket and cinema - pay for the nicer bits, the public spaces and the riverside walk. Without them, there's no money for the nice bits, so sadly the RWNS proposal doesn't pay for itself.
There are a couple of snags with the RWNS idea, which I admit looks rather pretty. One, Northwich has never been a 'market town'. That means a town which grew up as a trading centre, primarily for agriculture. Our town has been a chemical industry town since Roman times. Every town has a market and shops, but not every town is a market town. So this proposal is a pastiche, trying to make Northwich into something it isn't. Two, the uncomfortable fact of the CWAC proposal is that the big sites - supermarket and cinema - pay for the nicer bits, the public spaces and the riverside walk. Without them, there's no money for the nice bits, so sadly the RWNS proposal doesn't pay for itself. Jack Hay
  • Score: 0

9:05pm Sat 13 Oct 12

L Byrne says...

Jack

With respect, Northwich has moved on from being a chemical industry town as the number of disused and abandoned chemical works and office buildings around the town clearly shows. Take a look at Winnington, for instance.

If anybody is trying to turn Northwich into a 'market town' , it is the planners in CWAC Council who have this crazed vision to fill the place with retail grocery stores. Apparently, Sainsbury's, Tesco, The Co-op, Aldi and Lidl are not enough. Waitrose is on its way and the shopping fanatics want to add ASDA. Lunatic!

I suppose there are some but I have yet to meet a single resident who has the slightest interest in shopping in ASDA.

I disagree that the alternative proposal is a 'pastiche'; as far as I am aware, it is a tasteful extension and updating of the best of the retailers and other buildings that we already have in the centre of the town. These would be far more attractive than the angular glass panelled monstrosity that the Council is so determined to inflict on the town.

If the price of having ASDA and a multi screen cinema in the nicest part of the town is the continuing gradual decay of the existing town centre, it is not worth paying.
Jack With respect, Northwich has moved on from being a chemical industry town as the number of disused and abandoned chemical works and office buildings around the town clearly shows. Take a look at Winnington, for instance. If anybody is trying to turn Northwich into a 'market town' , it is the planners in CWAC Council who have this crazed vision to fill the place with retail grocery stores. Apparently, Sainsbury's, Tesco, The Co-op, Aldi and Lidl are not enough. Waitrose is on its way and the shopping fanatics want to add ASDA. Lunatic! I suppose there are some but I have yet to meet a single resident who has the slightest interest in shopping in ASDA. I disagree that the alternative proposal is a 'pastiche'; as far as I am aware, it is a tasteful extension and updating of the best of the retailers and other buildings that we already have in the centre of the town. These would be far more attractive than the angular glass panelled monstrosity that the Council is so determined to inflict on the town. If the price of having ASDA and a multi screen cinema in the nicest part of the town is the continuing gradual decay of the existing town centre, it is not worth paying. L Byrne
  • Score: 0

4:08pm Tue 16 Oct 12

Iadach says...

This proposal is indeed a pastiche and irrelevant to the history and future of Northwich. Added to that, the older buildings in the ‘historic core’ are not mock Tudor or look the way they do through any great consideration of aesthetics; they are constructed using a timber frame as a pragmatic engineering solution to the subsidence issues that were prevalent in previous centuries, not just a superficial exercise in ‘prettiness’. This is what Northwich is about; it has changed considerably through necessity and evolved; extinction is the consequence otherwise. A thriving future for the town is not to be found in little ‘chocolate box’ shops which architecturally would amount to little more than unimaginative brick boxes decorated to match the clever, innovative historic buildings, in doing so watering down the ‘historic core’.
The ‘CWAC proposal’ (Broadway Malyan design) is a considered solution that continues the spirit of reinvention and progress that was historically strong but for so long has felt lacking in Northwich and can deliver the infrastructure to drive Northwich forward and prevent its inevitable slide into insignificance otherwise. The proposed architecture is distinctive, elegant and inspired by the spirit of progress and innovation that has provided Northwich with its most interesting features; it is an informed step forward into the 21st century rather than an attempt to put the town ‘in a glass case’ and smother it’s further necessary evolution. The existing town centre, both the historic core and the 1960’s regeneration (Weaver Square etc) lack vacant units of appropriate size to attract any great interest both commercially and from the wider public; yes not many people can be bothered coming past Winsford, Middlewich & Knutsford and for good reason at the moment. The way to entice them is not by lining the river with architecturally safe little shops that will create scant commercial interest if any and sit empty for who knows how long.
The issue of another supermarket has also been handled well with it being ‘buried’ behind smaller shop frontages like the Indoor Market and having a cafe at its entrance; it would not be a domineering monolith hogging the street frontage. Plus there is actually a need for a large supermarket; my family and I (plus many more that I know of) have travelled to Warrington (much bigger Tesco & Sainsbury’s) and Cheshire Oaks (again much bigger Sainsbury’s) to shop. It will bring people into Northwich as will a multi-screen cinema (the nearest ones I can think of are Warrington & Runcorn). These are the ‘engines’ that are required propel the rejuvenation of a currently decaying town forward to the next stage of its wider development. The fact that the other projects that are in the pipeline such as The Marina (a shame that most if it constitutes a car park but at least this could be built on in the future) and Memorial Court are the other side of the town centre is actually a positive in my view as the new developments will draw people through the existing centre as they pass from one to the other rather than everything being clumped in one area leaving the rest to die off.
Many residents of Northwich themselves don’t bother going into town which is a woeful situation for any settlement! I think the town is not far off a ‘do or die’ situation and desperately needs to move forward in an ambitious, progressive but considered way that will give the town a new found relevance to many people well into the 21st century.
This proposal is indeed a pastiche and irrelevant to the history and future of Northwich. Added to that, the older buildings in the ‘historic core’ are not mock Tudor or look the way they do through any great consideration of aesthetics; they are constructed using a timber frame as a pragmatic engineering solution to the subsidence issues that were prevalent in previous centuries, not just a superficial exercise in ‘prettiness’. This is what Northwich is about; it has changed considerably through necessity and evolved; extinction is the consequence otherwise. A thriving future for the town is not to be found in little ‘chocolate box’ shops which architecturally would amount to little more than unimaginative brick boxes decorated to match the clever, innovative historic buildings, in doing so watering down the ‘historic core’. The ‘CWAC proposal’ (Broadway Malyan design) is a considered solution that continues the spirit of reinvention and progress that was historically strong but for so long has felt lacking in Northwich and can deliver the infrastructure to drive Northwich forward and prevent its inevitable slide into insignificance otherwise. The proposed architecture is distinctive, elegant and inspired by the spirit of progress and innovation that has provided Northwich with its most interesting features; it is an informed step forward into the 21st century rather than an attempt to put the town ‘in a glass case’ and smother it’s further necessary evolution. The existing town centre, both the historic core and the 1960’s regeneration (Weaver Square etc) lack vacant units of appropriate size to attract any great interest both commercially and from the wider public; yes not many people can be bothered coming past Winsford, Middlewich & Knutsford and for good reason at the moment. The way to entice them is not by lining the river with architecturally safe little shops that will create scant commercial interest if any and sit empty for who knows how long. The issue of another supermarket has also been handled well with it being ‘buried’ behind smaller shop frontages like the Indoor Market and having a cafe at its entrance; it would not be a domineering monolith hogging the street frontage. Plus there is actually a need for a large supermarket; my family and I (plus many more that I know of) have travelled to Warrington (much bigger Tesco & Sainsbury’s) and Cheshire Oaks (again much bigger Sainsbury’s) to shop. It will bring people into Northwich as will a multi-screen cinema (the nearest ones I can think of are Warrington & Runcorn). These are the ‘engines’ that are required propel the rejuvenation of a currently decaying town forward to the next stage of its wider development. The fact that the other projects that are in the pipeline such as The Marina (a shame that most if it constitutes a car park but at least this could be built on in the future) and Memorial Court are the other side of the town centre is actually a positive in my view as the new developments will draw people through the existing centre as they pass from one to the other rather than everything being clumped in one area leaving the rest to die off. Many residents of Northwich themselves don’t bother going into town which is a woeful situation for any settlement! I think the town is not far off a ‘do or die’ situation and desperately needs to move forward in an ambitious, progressive but considered way that will give the town a new found relevance to many people well into the 21st century. Iadach
  • Score: 0

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