THE first phase of Northwich’s regeneration has been named the best in Britain.

Work to transform Witton Street between the library and Venables Road has fought off competition from 30 other schemes across the UK to win the prestigious 2013 Street Design Award from Local Government News (LGN) magazine.

The £750,000 project is the first part of wider public realm works being carried out by Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) throughout the town centre.

Richard Flood, CWAC’s senior manager for the Northwich and Winsford locality team, said: “We are proud to receive the award.

“It recognises the collaborative working between engineers and artists.

“We have received a lot of praise for the scheme’s artistic and historical reference to Northwich and also been complemented on the quality of materials that have been used.

“We know this will last and will look good for many years to come.”

The scheme has reintroduced a more traditional feel to Witton Street that enhances its historic buildings through street furniture and public art.

The road and pavements have been relaid with York stone and granite to echo its early 20th century paving patterns and new street furniture includes oak bollards and finger posts featuring Tudor motifs from the roof bosses of St Helen’s Church.

Other bollards represent salt boxes and are topped with an angular cap that represents a salt crystal.

The public art has been designed by artist Katayoun Dowlatshahi.

Katayoun said: “There are changes afoot in Northwich and what’s happening here is the first stage of that.

“People should take heart that exciting things are finally happening here.”

Clr Lynn Riley said: “Anything that puts Northwich on the map and gets people talking is to be encouraged and celebrated.

“Northwich has been incredibly patient over the years.

“I’ve been a councillor for 10 years and when I came in Northwich Vision was being talked about.

“Now Northwich’s time has come.”

The second phase of public realm works will start in September.

This will see the works extended down Witton Street to the Iceland store and also St Paul’s Courtyard, opposite the Penny Black pub.