Future of Northwich town centre in the spotlight as cross-party meeting takes place
22 January 2018The first meeting of a Councillor working group looking at the future of Northwich town centre has taken place.
Members of the cross-party group received reports from council officers on a range of plans for the centre of the town.
They heard that Northwich is a town on the up, with recent investments in new housing, better leisure facilities at Memorial Court, new bars and restaurants opening on Witton Street and the construction phase of Barons Quay now complete.
Officers confirmed that the Odeon, Wildwood and Asda, all current tenants at Barons Quay, appeared to have a good Christmas trading period and that these recent investments in the town are complementing visitor attractions elsewhere in the town such as the Lion Salt Works and the Artisan Market.
Progress reports were shared on lettings at Barons Quay and the group heard that, despite the widely reported difficult retail market, confidential discussions were progressing positively with a number of potential tenants.
Chair of the working group, Councillor Armstrong, said: “The reports we heard at the first meeting of this group have given me confidence in the direction Northwich is travelling in and I'm pleased that Councillors from both main political parties are now helping to shape the way forward.
“We instilled on officers the need to get on with letting the empty units and received assurances that progress, while sometimes bound by confidentiality and appearing slow, is being made.
“Keeping local residents informed is a priority for us but we understand that we need to strike a balance between sharing information at the earliest opportunity and recognising that confidentiality is important in securing potential tenants.”
Initial scoping work is currently being undertaken in the Weaver Square area as part of proposals which will include new apartments and affordable housing. The plans also include new public areas to improve the journeys across town for residents and visitors.
Councillors heard that positive discussions were being held in regards to improving access to public sector services in the centre of town. The group advised it was reassured to hear about the redevelopment plans for Weaver Square, which will help to join up different areas of the town centre and provide people with places to live, shop, eat and relax.
Plans to further consult with local residents on the proposed masterplan for Weaver Square - including seeking views on the future of the market, how Northwich’s cultural offer can be improved and how to best utilise some of the town’s historic buildings - will be considered by the Council in the coming months.