Northwich mayor weighs in on debate that town is ‘facing the wrong way’

Northwich’s town mayor has responded to plans drawn up by a resident which showed how the mid Cheshire town could turn its fortunes around if it ‘stopped turning its back on the river‘. Tom Barrow who helps organise the “Pina Colada Festival”, received plaudits from the community after posting his plans online, and the debate has not escaped the attention of the mayor of Northwich.

It came about as Tom wanted to start a campaign to improve the town’s waterfront for the better. He drew up plans to change the shop units on Weaver Way to face the river and make the town more appealing.

Now the town’s mayor, Cllr Sam Naylor, has joined the debate, saying that he agrees with the idea in principle and plans are afoot to improve the waterways. But a revamp of the riverside properties in the town centre and the river itself, would take many years and serious investment.

READ MORE: What Northwich could look like if it ‘stopped turning its back on the river’

Cllr Naylor is also keen to improve the town and is behind a report regarding the waterway. The Cheshire Waterway strategy outlines the possibilities for the River Weaver. One of the key points is that to improve the town dredging of the river would have to be done, to allow boats to get up to Northwich

Cllr Naylor said: “Tom thinks that we’re missing a trick in not developing our biggest asset which is the river basin. Tom’s idea is great but it’s been looked at so many times in the past.

“We welcome it, because we’ve got a lot of things happening at the moment, we’ve got the publication in the not too distant future of the Cheshire Waterway Strategy. We’ve known for many years, that Northwich’s finest asset by a country mile, is the confluence of the Weaver and the Dane rivers.

“It does flood from time to time. If we sorted the flooding out what should have done, many, many years ago, much longer before we invested in Barons Quay which still has problems.

“We should have invested in just a quarter of that amount in developing the river basin and turned round that row of a lot of redundant shops. And turned around and developed Weaver Way outside the Odeon Cinema and developed the other side of the river, with a pedestrian crossing from one side to the other side. Because you’ve got all the developments and Winnington village which is just down the river, around the corner.

Sam Naylor, Northwich Councillor

“The potential for unlocking the door which we could turn Northwich into a fantastic “go to” destination is there to be done. We are determined to make a success of Northwich and the best way you can do that is to develop the river. It’s great for Tom to be reminding us of what we have got on our doorstep.”

To undertake any such project, it requires money and Labour councillor Sam says there is not evidence of the Government’s levelling up intention in Northwich.

Cllr Naylor said: “Ultimately the funding comes from DEFRA (Department For Environment Food and Rural Affairs) also you’ve got the possibility of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) you’ve got obviously this current Government saying every day that their intention is to level up, but you don’t see any evidence in our area.

“Obviously the best way to level up Northwich which is a historic industrial and market town which has got a lot of heritage surrounding it, which is based on the river and the canals is to develop the biggest asset we’ve got, which is the river basin.”

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