NORTHWICH Vision is no more, the Guardian can reveal.

Townsfolk were promised Northwich’s total regeneration, complete with new shops, bars, restaurants, a multiplex cinema, a cultural centre and better transport infrastructure, but these grand plans have come to nothing.

The proposals were dependent on work to stabilise four abandoned salt mines beneath the town centre, which was completed two years ago thanks to £38 million from the Homes and Communities Agency, formerly English Partnerships.

A development agreement was signed with developer Wilson Bowden in July 2008, which was expected to trigger the submission of a planning application for developments on Baron’s Quay in August this year, but no plans were submitted.

Tom Davies, north west communications assistant for the Homes and Communities Agency, confirmed that Northwich Vision had ceased to be.

“HCA has invested £38 million in Northwich as part of the land stabilisation works,” he said.

“This work was completed some time ago and monitored continuously.

“Northwich Vision ceased to exist when the new unitary authority came into being April 1, 2009.”

Cheshire West and Chester councillor Herbert Manley, prosperity portfolio holder, insisted plans were still in the pipeline but admitted the recession has had a major impact on Northwich Vision and the project was being looked at afresh.

“Plans to secure the future of Northwich town centre are firmly embedded in Cheshire West and Chester Council’s regeneration planning,” he said.

“Northwich is an important town for the borough and it is unfortunate that the economic downtown has had a significant impact on the original Northwich Vision blueprint.

“Indeed, much of the original work carried out under the banner of the Northwich Vision is now being revisited in light of the economic situation.

“Just last week officers and members of the council had a planning day for Northwich to take a fresh look at the original plans and develop a direction for the future.

“I am committed to ensuring that Northwich remains a key priority for the new council.”

These admissions come just a year after Catherine Fox, then project manager for Northwich Vision, reassured Northwich that the credit crunch would not squeeze the life out of plans to transform the town.