An exciting new dawn for Northwich was hailed today (Monday 16 February) as town leaders gathered to celebrate the start of construction on the Barons Quay development.
Councillors and MP Graham Evans were joined by senior representatives from Cheshire West and Chester Council – developers of the £80m scheme – and contractor Balfour Beatty to see the changes underway since work began in November 2014.
The massive regeneration project will create 1,200 jobs and transform a neglected corner of the town centre into a thriving retail and leisure quarter.
Councillor Lynda Jones, Executive Member for Growth and Innovation, said: “For decades Northwich’s prosperity has been stifled by its subsidence issues which prevented growth and any significant development.
“The success of the mines stabilisation project has opened the door to a new Northwich and we are seeing that transformation happening – not just here at Barons Quay but across the town, as we have promised.
“We have already seen the fantastic regeneration of Hayhurst Quay and will soon welcome exciting developments at Memorial Court and the Lion Salt Works, both due to open in the coming months.
“We stand at the brink of an exciting new dawn for Northwich – truly a town with a very bright future.”
In addition to a multi-screen Odeon cinema and Asda superstore, Barons Quay will feature seven restaurants plus a hotel and cafes enjoying tranquil waterside views.
The development will include more than 30 retail units and hundreds of car parking spaces.
The scheme has been designed to take full advantage of the river setting and incorporates strong links with the existing shopping areas.
Local Councillor Sam Naylor said: “The investment in our historic town centre has been a long time coming and although many residents consider that their views have been ignored the regeneration programme is welcomed.
“My own and my fellow Councillors’ role will be on ensuring that local people are given the opportunity to get jobs ‘on site’, that parking issues are addressed and that safety concerns regarding Weaver Way are acted upon.
“These are exciting times and overall the regeneration scheme should be viewed positively.”
Construction activity in the first weeks on site has concentrated on the major service and drainage diversion works around Leicester Street and Weaver Way.
Site clearance works have also been completed, ready to start the major piling works around the new retail and leisure quarter.
Mike Burrow, Balfour Beatty Senior Project Manager, said: “This celebration is a key milestone in the construction programme and Balfour Beatty looks forward to delivering a building that will exceed our customers’ expectations.”
Cheshire West and Chester Council is currently developing ideas for the future of Northwich’s Weaver Square Shopping Centre and is committed to consulting with residents on the continuing regeneration of the town.
PHOTO CAPTION: Celebrating the start of the Barons Quay scheme are (left to right) Councillor Sam Naylor, Council Leader Mike Jones, Councillor Stuart Parker, Graham Ford of Balfour Beatty, MP Graham Evans, Councillor Elton Watson, Councillor Helen Weltman, Mike Burrow of Balfour Beatty and Councillor Eveleigh Moore Dutton.