AN artisan market hall in a similar style to that of Altrincham will go ahead after plans were approved by Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Serving food and drink to diners in communal seating, the new market is set to take up residence in an empty building on London Road.

The proposal to change the use of the former J&S Motorcycle store – next door to Waitrose and vacant since 2010 – was submitted to the council in May.

And at the time, the application was greeted by a mixed reaction from residents, who highlighted a lack of on-site parking and the market hall’s location.

Northwich Guardian:

The proposed market building

One resident said: "Good idea, wrong location, parking would be an issue surely."

Another added: "I think it's a great idea and continues with the independent shop/stallholders vibe that Northwich already has going on."

Support for the concept was also given by Northwich Regeneration Committee chairman, Cllr Sam Naylor, however he too raised concerns about its location.

He said: "We have been around Altrincham Market and it is a fantastic concept, and I would love one in Northwich.

"I would like the artisan market stall concept to be in Weaver Square or Barons Quay – I just see an artisan market on the outskirts of the town centre as not the most forward-thinking plan.

"I would welcome the concept, but my initial thoughts are that it is the wrong place."

In response to these concerns, planning case officer Brian Leonard said: “The development is considered to be an appropriate use within the town centre and is not considered to undermine the vitality and viability of the centre.

“The site would benefit from public transport links serving Northwich town centre and is well-linked to existing public car parks nearby.

“On this basis, it is not considered that a dedicated car park is required for the proposal.”

The application proposes to utilise the space with five food operators as well as a café, deli and bar.

Northwich Guardian:

A planning statement says that the market hall’s food operators could serve up to 200 customers, with the café a further 40, and the complex would create 42 jobs.

It said: “The proposed Artisan Market use is a distinctive concept of small ‘boutique’ food offerings within an attractively presented shared space and is a form of development not found in Barons Quay or elsewhere in the town centre.

“The proposal would provide an appropriate use in this town centre location, occupying an existing building which has been vacant since 2010.”

The two-storey building, which will be re-clad to bring about a ‘striking modern’ appearance, will also offer function rooms on each floor.

Proposed hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 8am to 10pm and Sunday, 8am to 9pm.

Work to transform the building into an artisan market hall must begin within three years.