CAMPAIGNERS hoping to preserve a part of Northwich’s river heritage have met with the site's owners to discuss plans for its future.

The Canal & River Trust (C&RT) has put Navigation Yard near Northwich town centre, which was once a regional headquarters for the organisation, up for sale to developers in order to raise funds to help maintain its 2,000 miles of inland waterways.

Several structures on the site, which is a historical river port complex and boatyard - are deemed important historical assets, including the grade II listed Area Office, Navigation House, Clock Tower, and the Scotch Derrick Crane. 

The waterways charity hopes to sell the site to a residential property developer, but agreed to meet with a group of 22 representatives of Northwich Town and Cheshire West and Chester (CWAC) councils, and delegates from various waterway user groups, to hear alternative suggestions.

CWAC and Northwich town councillor, Sam Naylor, who was present at the private meeting on Friday, January 27, said: “We’re concerned about what would go on at historic Navigation Road if it was sold to a developer.

“We think, because of the location of the site on a flood plain and of the grade II listed buildings, it would be inappropriate to salami-slice it and sell it off bit by bit to a developer.

"It’s just not appropriate when you take into account the heritage of the site. Its role in developing the salt and chemical industries during the industrial revolution means it played a huge part in putting Northwich on the map.

"We want to see it being developed in a way that puts our cultural heritage at its very centre."

A spokesman for the C&RT said: "The Canal & River Trust has put up for sale its land and buildings at Navigation Road in Northwich.

"The former Grade II listed office buildings on site are all vacant, and the operational depot on site will be relocated in the near future.

"The sale of the former office and yard will generate much needed capital that will be reinvested into waterway maintenance programmes across our 2,000-mile network.

"If possible, we will seek a purchaser that has a proven track record in delivering high-quality development schemes that are sympathtic to the heritage importance of the various Grade II listed buildings on the site."

A further meeting between campaigners and the trust was due to take place today, February 10.