CONTROVERSIAL plans to redevelop Weaver Shipyard by creating a leisure marina and up to 83 homes have been given the green light.

The development was discussed by members of Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning committee this evening, Tuesday.

Proposals for the site off Saxons Lane were called before the committee by Winnington and Castle councillor Kate Cernik, with planning case officer Brian Leonard recommending it be approved in a report prepared in advance.

The 3.3-hectare brownfield site off Saxons Lane is occupied by an operational boat maintenance and storage yard, which will be retained to provide advice, maintenance and light repairs in a modern workshop.

Residential dwellings will be a mix of terrace, semi-detached and detached properties ranging from two to four bedrooms.

The development will be accessed from Saxons Lane, which will be widened to 5.5 metres with a new 2-metre-wide footpath.

Northwich Guardian:

The existing site

Speaking during the hearing, Dan Brown, and agent for applicant H20 Urban, reflected on the applicant’s ‘transformational’ Hayhurst Quay scheme, while suggesting that the current site gives a negative impression to that section of the Weaver.

He confirmed that boats will only access the marina via the Weaver, 30 per cent of homes would be affordable and there would be contributions of £170,000 to education and £218,000 to open space.

Winnington and Castle councillors Bob and Kate Cernik both spoke openly against the development, with key issues including flood risk management, loss of flood plains and the impact on highways.

Bob said: “Up to 2,000 cubic metres of water will not be stored in soil and will go into the river upstream to Northwich town centre, which has been flooded twice recently.

“CWAC needs to show real leadership and reject this proposal, not just because of the material concerns raised, but because we should stop building houses on flood plains.

“It is morally and environmentally the wrong thing to do.”

Kate added: “The nature and scale of the development presents a threat to the health and wellbeing of many local residents.

Northwich Guardian:

How the development will look

“There is huge strength of feeling on this and around 100 people have contacted me, as has local MP Mike Amesbury

“There is a useful report on how to ameliorate the impact of the development on bats, birds and badgers, but nothing on how to ameliorate the impact on the health of our children.”

Leftwich councillor Andrew Cooper and Davenham, Moulton and Kingsmead councillor Helen Weltman also raised the concerns of Northwich Rowing Club on how the development would impact its major rowing events on that stretch of the Weaver.

Debate was held over flooding concerns, but it was pointed out that experts from the Environment Agency and the Lead Local Flood Authority raised no objections to the development.

After progressing to a vote, the application was approved by six votes in favour to five votes against.

All committee members representing wards in the Northwich area voted against the scheme.