The ‘much-needed’ redevelopment of Barons Quay will ‘build on Northwich’s distinctive character’ and trigger a ‘huge regeneration effect’ for the whole of the town centre.
These were some of the many positive comments received during the first stage of public consultation into proposals for the major retail and leisure scheme.
Joint partners in the scheme Cheshire West and Chester Council and the Weaver Valley Partnership Board asked residents and businesses for their thoughts on the draft plans earlier this year.
The majority of respondents said they supported the proposals to redevelop the neglected 25-acre site and viewed it as a key step in the regeneration of Northwich.
Elements that people liked included maximising the relationship with the River Weaver, enhancing the quality of the town centre environment and redeveloping an underused site in a prime location.
The mix of uses – in particular the leisure element and proposed cinema – was well supported, as was the integration with the existing shopping area.
Queries were raised over car parking provision and charging, the tenants/occupiers of the new units and the proposed food store.
Some respondents highlighted the potential impact on existing town centre businesses and were keen to see how they could be supported.
Councillor Herbert Manley, Executive Member for Prosperity, said: “This consultation has been invaluable in identifying key objectives and considerations as we progress to the next stage in our proposals for Barons Quay, and I would like to thank all who took part.
“The feedback is now being used to inform the development of more detailed proposals on which we will be consulting during September.”
During the consultation, which took place in May, people were invited to complete questionnaires online and at a series of consultation events held at town centre locations.
Geoff Hope-Terry, Chairman of the Weaver Valley Partnership Board, said: “The plans are firming up now as we get closer to the date when we want to put a planning application forward.
“However, it is still important to us that residents have their say so that the final proposals meet as many of the local aspirations for the site as possible.
“Whether people have given their views previously or not, I would urge everyone to look at the latest plans and use the next round of consultation to have their say.”
Local Councillor Amy Mercer-Bailey said: “As the feedback shows, town centre regeneration is something that residents have wanted to see for a very long time and we are all very keen for it to become reality.
“A strong theme arising from the consultation was around timescales and delivery, with people wanting to see something happening at Barons Quay as soon as possible.
“Delivering this scheme without delay – subject, of course, to the necessary planning permission – is clearly vital to maintaining public confidence in a development which has enormous potential for our town.”
A summary of the consultation can be found on the Weaver Valley Partnership Board’s website.
A planning application is expected to be submitted towards the end of the year.