The regeneration of Northwich town centre starts this week as Witton Street is given a makeover.
Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) set aside £500,000 for public realm improvements more than two years ago and these will be carried out between now and October.
Shoppers will see Witton Street transformed between the library and Venables Road with squares, road surfaces and paving as well as public art and street furniture inspired by the town’s history.
Catherine Fox, Weaver Valley team leader, said: “We want to give Witton Street an identity of its own and support the traders by saying to shoppers ‘this is where you will go to find independent traders’.
“We also want to create ‘dwell time’ where people will want to go and have a sit down.”
John Seiler, principal landscape officer for CWAC, said: “It’s a very exciting time for the town and it’s really important that we get this right.
“This is setting a precedent for the quality that we want to have throughout the town centre, this is a benchmark.”
CWAC appointed an artist, Katayoun Dowlatshahi, to work on a design concept for the entire town centre, from revamping Witton Street to new plants for the Memorial Court lifestyle centre, the marina and the regeneration of Barons Quay.
The overarching theme of the town will be salt and how it has influenced Northwich’s development, including its architecture, industry and waterways.
Witton Street is seen as the heritage core and work will reflect the history and beauty of its buildings, with artistic interpretations of the timber framed buildings in Brunner Court, by the library and St Paul’s Square, next to Northwich Art Shop.
Even bollards and the grills surrounding the bases of trees will reflect the town’s heritage as they will feature designs from the Tudor roof bosses to be found inside St Helen’s Church.
Among the roof bosses, Katyoun discovered a depiction of a Roman salt basket, and this will be used to create a town crest and a symbol that will crop up throughout regeneration sites.
A Roman salt basket in a roof boss
The steps and ramp to Northwich Library are also in line for a revamp to set off the building by making the approach less cluttered.
John said: “People in Northwich might not be aware of what an interesting, rich history the town has; hopefully this will give people an understanding.
“They can interpret it how they want to interpret it but these are also art works that are practical and can be interacted with.”
Article by Gina Bebbington, Northwich Guardian, 18 July 2012