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Shape of things to come
THE future of Northwich has been mapped out in a timeline charting the regeneration of the town for the next four years.
The timeline has been revealed as part of the launch of Northwich Riverside, a new brand which covers all of the regeneration projects across the town centre.
Highlights of the plan, put together by Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) and Weaver Valley Partnership, include the closure of Northwich Memorial Hall in March, with the new Memorial Court leisure and cultural centre opening at the end of 2014, work on designs for Leicester Street roundabout taking place early next year and alterations competed in 2015, the completion of the marina site by the end of 2015, and the opening of a cinema and shops at Barons Quay in 2016.
Catherine Fox, Weaver Valley team leader, said: “This shows the ambitions for the Northwich projects coming forward – I want things to happen as well.
“It is ambitious but we are setting out our stall.”
One of the first projects, now called Hayhurst Quay, will be the transformation of the marina site into a Waitrose store, extra care apartments, a riverside restaurant, 40-berth marina and fully accessible waterfront.
This scheme has been put forward by H2O Urban, a joint venture by the Canal and River Trust and Bloc, and work will start next month, with Waitrose and the marina expected to open in autumn 2013.
Mike Coates, investment and development manager for the Canal and River Trust, said: “This is the first phase in the delivery of the town’s regeneration.
“It isn’t just a pipe dream, it is actually going to happen.”
He added: “Things will start to happen fairly quickly now.
“We have consent and have operators signed up, now it’s simply a matter of us getting everything logistically in place so we can start to build.”
Residents plug rival regeneration vision
AN ALTERNATIVE consultation into Northwich’s regeneration has received a resounding response from the public in its first week.
A group of residents, spearheaded by the River Weaver Navigation Society (RWNS), has drawn up its own consultation after CWAC’s plans for Barons Quay and Memorial Court left them cold.
John Tackley, chairman of RWNS, said the questionnaire, which has already received 200 responses, showed a majority in favour of its vision for the future.
He said: “We need inspirational leadership to create a ‘whole town’ development plan bringing together our magnificent waterways embracing the heritage of salt, the celebration of our chemical industry and its unique invention of polythene.
“Our amazing shipbuilding industry, the world’s first boat lift and the restored Lion Salt Works, all connected by water.
“Add to this the basic attractive, well lit waterfront space and facilities needed to enable rallies, festivals, exhibitions and other tourist pursuits to be staged easily.
“It could become a visitor and tourist destination creating economic activity in so many diverse ways.
“All this has been overlooked by the imposition of a development plan devoid of any sense of the heritage of our town and so far seems to lack any significant public support.
“Create the basis of an attractive interesting town and more businesses arrive, job opportunities increase, property rises in value, an improved lifestyle is created and pride in the town returns.
“It needs to happen here. It is our last chance.”
To fill in a questionnaire visit rwns.co.uk or ring John on 01606 76204 for a paper copy.