Shopkeepers in Northwich have expressed concern about the current state of the town centre.

High on the list of worries are reduced footfall in recent years, difficulty in attracting new businesses into empty shop, and a lack of direction about the future of Weaver Square shopping centre. 

Some praised the work of Northwich Business Improvement District (BID), in particular the events run in conjunction with the town council, as being effective in raising the profile of the town centre.

One business owner suggested that attracting the biggest high street retailers to the town would have a positive impact on its cafes, pubs and restaurants.Northwich Guardian: Rosebank Sports (Google)Rosebank Sports (Google) (Image: Google)

Terry Turner, 59, of Rosebank Sports, said: “Footfall is not what it was, and I don’t think things will improve until they do something with Weaver Square. It looks very dated.

“We’ve had to become more specialized because we can’t compete with the likes of Sports Direct. We’ve had to become a destination store, which means we don’t rely so much on footfall.

“They should make the town more attractive for independent businesses.

“The BID team’s work has been very positive. It draws people’s attention to the town.”

Northwich Guardian: Ivy Cottage Interiors (Google)Ivy Cottage Interiors (Google) (Image: Google)

Rachel Davies, of Ivy Cottage Interiors, said: “We’d be lost without the BID team and the events they put on – it’s a killer when there is no footfall.

“It doesn’t necessarily make a difference to trade on the day, but it gives people a chance a find you, and they’ll come back when they need you.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty about Weaver Square. Anyone passing it would think Northwich was a ghost town – so anything there would be a positive.

“Independents are the way forward. They need to do more to make it attractive for them. Private landlords need to lower the rents, or the council could give business rates relief.”

John Hilton, 32, of Hilton’s Jewellers, said: “Losing some of the stalwarts like Marks and Spencer and Bratts is going to be its downfall.

“We’re hoping now that some of the big boys like Primark decide to come in. There’ll a trickledown effect in terms of footfall, and that will benefit the coffee shops and restaurants."

Paul Ayers, 46, of Huff and Puff Vapes, said: “We’ve only been here since February, and it takes time for people to realise you are here, but when they do, they’ll travel in for you.

Barons Quay does seem to draw people down this end of town, but it’s mostly high-end shops, and the cost of living crisis means people have less money in their pockets, so I don’t know what is going to happen there."

Northwich Guardian: Swift Services (Google)Swift Services (Google) (Image: Google)

Kevin Finnegan, of Swift Services, said: “Footfall is not what it was, but it’s better than some towns. There are a lot of shops shutting down.

“It’s changing habits – the internet, etc."