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 will provide 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 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 £32m programme completed in 2007 stabilised the abandoned mines by replacing millions of litres of brine 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.
Cllr Herbert Manley, executive member for prosperity, said: “We have had to wait a long time to be able to bring forward a major development plan for the town centre.
“The Barons Quay development will create jobs and prosperity for the area and is a significant part of an overall scheme to improve the lifestyle and prospects of our residents.
“The proposals are designed to enhance the existing businesses, not to damage them, with the new development embracing the river frontage and integrating with the traditional shopping areas.”