CONTROVERSIAL plans to sell to piece of Northwich’s river heritage to developers have taken a step forward.

Navigation Yard has been advertised for sale on real estate website Rightmove, despite several meetings between waterways user groups and the yard’s owner, the Canal and River Trust (C&RT), to discuss alternatives.

C&RT say the sale will raise funds to help maintain 2,000 miles of inland waterways, and they are seeking a developer who will be sensitive to the site’s historical role in the development of Northwich’s industrial heritage.

The three-acre site is being marketed as a ‘freehold, river fronting development opportunity’, including ‘a number of Grade II listed buildings, situated within the Northwich Conservation Area'.Northwich Guardian: The clock tower is one of several grade II listed buildings on the siteThe clock tower is one of several grade II listed buildings on the site (Image: Avison Young)

Offers are being invited ‘by way of private treaty’, with best and final offers to be submitted via London-based agent, Avison Young, by 5pm on Thursday, March 16.

Cheshire West and Northwich town councillor, Sam Naylor, is a member of a group of councillors, interested groups, and a local MP Mike Amesbury, who believe the site should be preserved and turned into a public amenity. 

Cllr Naylor said: “A residential developer probably wouldn’t care about the site’s heritage.

“What we’re trying to do, as a collection of interested parties, is persuade C&RT to hand it over, or sell it, to a group who will take it forward as a heritage project, instead of just selling it on the open market.

“Our plan is for a mixed use of leisure, education and traditional waterways trades, which we hope will attract river craft up into Northwich.

“The Inland Waterways Association are taking the lead, and we are going to work with them. They have a vast amount of experience, and a great track record of protecting site of historical and conservation significance.”

Northwich Guardian: Aerial view of the 3-acre siteAerial view of the 3-acre site (Image: Avison Young)

Campaigners say sensitive redevelopment of the site could be a catalyst for the regeneration of the local area, by helping to promote and publicise 'Cheshire’s greatest untapped tourist asset', the River Weaver.

Several structures on the site are deemed important historical assets, including the Grade II listed Area Office, Navigation House, Clock Tower, and the Scotch Derrick Crane. 

“This isn’t your normal development site. It’s got listed building on it that are in a really poor state. They have to be protected.

“The site has so many restrictions on it from a planning point of view. Access is also difficult, so whether they find a suitable buyer remains to be seen."