A MAJOR breakthrough has been reached in the ‘will they won’t they’ saga of the Northwich Vision.

Plans will be revealed for the redevelopment of Baron’s Quay this summer with a planning application set to be submitted by the end of the year.

A new gyratory scheme will also be piloted in the town centre in the summer in a bid to improve traffic flow.

Progress has finally been made possible after the announcement that the stagnant development agreement between Wilson Bowden Developments and the council has been scrapped.

Wilson Bowden was appointed by the former Vale Royal Borough Council in 2008 but this agreement had become a major sticking point for Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) and the Weaver Valley Partnership in their hopes to regenerate Northwich.

Geoff Hope-Terry, chairman of the Weaver Valley Partnership, said: “We inherited the agreement with developers Wilson Bowden but unfortunately Wilson Bowden hasn’t been able to take the scheme forward because, from their perspective, it isn’t financially viable because of the credit crunch.

“We weren’t happy with the situation.

“We agreed to terminate the contract – it was by mutual agreement and there were no hard feelings on either side.

“We can now take control and bring forward regeneration plans.

“From Wilson Bowden’s point of view they were worried about making enough money but the difference with us taking control is that it’s about putting regeneration first.”

Planning conditions mean that Baron’s Quay is the first area that has to be redeveloped, but Geoff was keen to stress that this would not be at the detriment to the rest of Northwich.

He said: “The Baron’s Quay project is about enhancing the town centre, not moving it – that’s crucial.

“It will link with the existing town centre.

“What we want to do is regenerate the whole town, not just the Baron’s Quay area.”

Geoff did admit that there was still a hurdle to overcome before work could really start in earnest.

“While the stabilisation of the mines has gone really well, we haven’t actually yet got the final warranties we need,” he said.

“We don’t envisage any problems but it’s not done yet.

“Although it’s very exciting that we’re moving forward, it will be 2014-15 before we can sit by the river having a cup of coffee in a nice cafe.”