Exciting new plans have been unveiled that bring to life the proposed transformation of Barons Quay into a thriving retail and leisure quarter.
The plans – the most detailed yet – will be available to view at a mobile exhibition on Barons Quay car park this Thursday (12-4pm), Friday and Saturday (10am – 4pm).
Staff will be on hand to answer questions and people will be invited to register their views on the major regeneration scheme, estimated to attract an additional 500,000 visitors to the town centre every year.
It marks the launch of a final public engagement exercise before a planning application is submitted later this year by Cheshire West and Chester Council and the Weaver Valley Partnership, joint partners in the scheme.
Councillor Herbert Manley, Executive Member for Prosperity, said: “These draft proposals have evolved from the outline plans which residents and businesses were invited to comment on earlier this year.
“The feedback was very positive and we have incorporated many of the suggestions received. For example, people told us they wanted to see a hotel and a residential element – both of which are now included.
“We have reduced the size of the food store by approximately 40 percent, also in response to comments from the local community.
“The key messages that came through were that the development must support local businesses and that its appearance should complement the existing town centre.
“These themes are at the heart of the design, demonstrated by the strong links with Witton Street and the high-quality architecture based on a contemporary interpretation of Northwich’s unique character.”
The focus for leisure is Weaver Point, a public space overlooking the river boasting a five-screen cinema together with restaurants, bars and cafes, an outdoor dining area and a mooring point for leisure boats.Artists’ impressions show the proposed layout and design of the 25-acre development, split across two levels – street and upper.
It connects with a looped shopping street featuring a variety of high-quality retail units that links with Witton Street.
A 60-bed hotel and 40 residential apartments occupy the upper level above the shops.
Extensive public realm works will see Weaver Way transformed with high quality landscaping to create a dedicated riverside route for pedestrians and cyclists.
Weaver Way will connect with Riverside Park, a new green space alongside the river that will also act as a gateway to Carey Park.
The development features four public spaces, the largest of which – Barons Square – will link via a travelator to a car park on the roof of the food store.
The car park will be accessed via the Northern Gateway, the main town centre approach from Leicester Street for vehicles.
It is expected that the development will provide approximately 2,357 car parking spaces, compared with 2,118 currently available in the town centre.
Weaver Valley Partnership Board Chairman Geoff Hope-Terry said: “I know it feels like it has taken a very long time, but things are really starting to happen in Northwich.
“As well as this major proposal for Barons Quay, the scheme for the new marina has already been approved and work has commenced on the first phase of upgrading the pedestrian areas in the town.
“Add to that the imminent plans for redeveloping the prime Memorial Hall and Magistrates Court site and you can start to sense an unprecedented rate of change, which is excellent news for everyone who lives and works here.”
Anyone unable to visit this week’s exhibitions can view the plans at Northwich Customer Services Centre and Northwich Library where they will be on display until the consultation closes on October 8th.
Alternatively, the exhibition boards can be viewed at www.weavervalley.org.uk where a feedback form can be completed online or printed off and returned to the Northwich Customer Service Centre.
Local Councillor Paul Dolan said: “There is still time to fine-tune the Barons Quay plans before they go forward for planning approval.
“I urge people to give us their feedback so we can ensure this development delivers the major change needed to make our town centre more vibrant and attractive to residents, businesses and visitors alike.
“Once the planning application is submitted there will be a further opportunity for people to make their views known during the statutory consultation period.”
The plans have been developed by a design team led by project manager Rider Levett Bucknall, with architecture and planning support from Broadway Malyan.
Subject to consent, site works and construction are expected to begin in 2014 with completion estimated in 2016.