First big name signing announced for Barons Quay – with cinema operator soon to follow

Hundreds of jobs for Northwich

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Supermarket  giants Asda  are to build a 68,000 sq feet store at Northwich’s iconic Barons Quay development – it was announced today (Wednesday, November 27).

Cheshire West and Chester Council – developers of the £80m riverside scheme – revealed the ‘Quay’s first big name signing – and approximately 300 new jobs for the town.

And following close behind – expected within weeks – will be the name of the operator of the town’s long-awaited five screen cinema.

Said Councillor Herbert Manley, Executive Member for Growth and Innovation: “We are not quite there yet but I’m delighted to say that we have agreed terms and are finalising legal agreements with a major cinema operator.”

Asda’s decision to plump for the Northwich development means that up to 300 very welcome jobs will be on their way to a town now looking forward to a bright future.

ASDA Senior Property Communications Manager, Philip Bartram, said: “The Barons Quay development is exciting for the area and the prospect of bringing the hugely popular Asda offer to local shoppers is equally exciting. We have had aspirations to open an Asda store in Northwich for some time and look forward to these plans finally becoming reality in the near future.”

The council has approved the massive development project which will create 1,600 jobs and transform Northwich into one of the North West’s busiest market towns by 2016.

Planners have embraced the attractive riverside setting in their vision for Northwich which is designed to enhance and increase footfall to the existing town centre with pedestrian links to Witton Street, Market Square and the new Memorial Court leisure complex.

In addition to the cinema and superstore, Barons Quay will include a hotel, cafes and restaurants enjoying the tranquil waterside views, shops and hundreds of car parking spaces.

Councillor Herbert Manley, Executive Member for Growth and Innovation, said: “This is a big step towards our ambition to create a new Northwich – a wealthier, healthier, better place to live, work, visit, have fun and do business.

“By taking on the role of developer, the council will cut through the current economic logjam to get the project underway and control the quality of this important regeneration  project.

“Historically the town’s fortunes were built on salt. Its misfortune was that the mining activities created subsidence which for many years held Northwich back, preventing growth and any significant development.

“The £32m stabilisation of the mines under the town centre, has opened the door to these exciting transformational plans which will give Northwich the future it deserves.

Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Councillor Mike Jones, said: “Existing retailers have nothing to fear and everything to gain from Barons Quay and all the other developments already underway in the town.

“I am sure the independents have the skills and enterprise to benefit from a massive increase in visitors arriving to shop and spend their leisure time in a transformed Northwich.

“Of course there is some disruption involved in all these developments but I urge residents to be understanding and patient as we work together to create a vibrant town, many more jobs and opportunities, and wonderful prospects to take advantage of improvements to the nation’s economy.”

David Watson, chairman of the Weaver Valley Partnership, said: “This is wonderful news for Northwich, a huge step towards the creation of a prosperous and thriving market town to be enjoyed by residents and visitors.

“The council’s decision to act as developer is a tremendous act of faith in the town and should ensure Barons Quay will be a quality design built to enhance the environment and will create a wonderful opportunity for existing retailers to benefit from the many more people coming to Northwich.”

Local councillor Paul Dolan said: “Confirmation that Northwich is finally to get a cinema to replace the Regal is really good news and so are the jobs which will be created by the Barons Quay development.

“We must ensure that businesses in the traditional shopping areas are properly supported and the new is fully integrated with the old to prevent a tale of two towns.”

Other Northwich projects already underway and planned include the Memorial Court leisure complex (£13.7m), Lion Salt Works visitor attraction (£8m), Hayhurst Quay/Waitrose (£20m), Leicester Street roundabout and the new gyratory road system (approximately £5m).

Almost 3,000 new homes are also expected to be built over several years in the Winnington and Wincham urban villages, Middlewich Road and the Lostock triangle.