WEAVER Square Shopping Centre is earmarked for a major overhaul as part of the borough council’s £129 million redevelopment of Northwich.

The Guardian can reveal that Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) have appointed Manchester-based architects Fletcher Rae to create a masterplan and establish a new vision for the shopping centre.

The masterplan area includes the Weaver Square Shopping Centre, the police and bus stations, both indoor and outdoor markets, the information centre and Victoria Club Car Park.

One element being explored is the possibility of including a combined public services hub to improve service delivery across Northwich.

The first stage of the masterplan, which started on Monday, will be to seek views from members of the public in the form of a number of workshops and an online survey.

Cllr Brian Clarke, CWAC cabinet member for economic development and infrastructure, said: “This is a real blank sheet of paper and in this early phase we’re looking for the views of local people on what will create vitality around Weaver Square.

“The town currently loses a lot of spend to bigger locations but Weaver Square, along with the new Barons Quay development, provides us with a unique opportunity to really boost Northwich and draw people in.

“We’re open to all suggestions and would encourage everyone to get involved and have their say.”

A dedicated Weaver Square Masterplan Facebook page has also been set up for members of the public to share their views.

Speaking on the page, Nicola Louise Baines said: “I think a nice small park area for children with benches around and planters would encourage people into the area and then definitely a decent family eatery and some quality shops, maybe organic/natural shops.

“Also (clean) public toilets.”

Darrelle Bower said there is much work that needs to be done.

He said: “There are lots of things that could be done, but at the moment I dislike going into that area because it's so empty it doesn't always feel safe, which is a shame for the existing businesses.

“I also am concerned that the front onto the duel carriageway doesn't exactly scream "quality destination". If I was driving through and didn't know Northwich, I'm not sure I'd stop.”

The first phase of consultation, which concludes on July 25, will be followed by further, more detailed rounds once draft plans have been brought forward based on the feedback of residents.

PSP Cheshire West and Cheshire LLP, which is a partnership between Cheshire West and Chester Council and Public Sector PLC, are managing the master planning process on behalf of the council.

To have your say on the Weaver Square Shopping Centre development, visit the Weaver Square Masterplan Facebook and click on the survey link.

Alternatively, you can send in feedback to Freepost: Your Say Consultation.