Go ahead for Broadway Malyan-designed £80m scheme in historic UK salt town / by rachel

An historic Cheshire town centre is to be transformed by an £80m scheme creating 1,400 jobs and ending decades of delay caused by salt mining subsidence. The riverside Barons Quay development in Northwich, designed by global architecture, urbanism and design practice Broadway Malyan, will give the town a multi-screen cinema, major food store, hotel, restaurants, bars, shops, petrol station and additional free car parking.

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Strategic Planning Committee has unanimously approved the scheme which takes full advantage of the river frontage while creating strong links to the traditional shopping areas. It is hoped that work will begin on site by autumn 2014 and be completed by the end of 2016.

Northwich has been at the centre of Britain’s salt industry since Roman times but the legacy of unstable mines beneath the town centre prevented any significant growth in the past 30 years.

A £32 million programme completed in 2007 stabilised the abandoned mines by replacing millions of litres of brine from the mines with a mixture of pulverised fuel ash and cement and clearing the way for development.

An impact study commissioned by Cheshire West and Chester predicts the 8.26 hectare Barons Quay development will reverse a trend of people shopping elsewhere.

Director Matt Brook said: “The planning green light is a major milestone in the creation of a unique visitor destination that capitalises on Northwich's waterfront and parkland setting and references its industrial heritage as a fully integrated extension to the town centre.

“It is testament to our close partnering with the Council and wider project team and will result in the delivery of a series of simple elegant buildings, providing a backdrop to a significant quantity of new public realm; including three new major public spaces connected by a series of new retail streets.”

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