Four-boat pontoon to ‘open up’ Northwich riverside at Barons Quay
A PONTOON will be constructed at Barons Quay, offering a landing point from the River Weaver in the town centre.
The waterside mooring will easier link the town’s waterways to shops, restaurants and bars, in a bid to provide a tourism boost to the centre and beyond.
It is hoped the new structure, to be built by the Canal and River Trust (CRT) through a £175,000 Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) grant, will enhance tourism in the town.
The decision, taken by CWAC cabinet member for economic development Cllr Brian Clarke, has been on the cards for a number of years, as mentioned in the Local Plan, Neighbourhood Plan and Waterways Strategy.
Cllr Clarke said: “Northwich has always turned its back over the years on its biggest asset – the river.
“We always wanted to make the river one of the shining features of the town and it has always been an aspiration to get boats coming from places like Anderton Boat Lift down to Barons Quay, stopping there and bringing life into the area.
“It’s capable of taking up to four canal barges at any one time, and fits in with what we have done at Hayhurst Quay.
“It’s going to be absolutely brilliant. The people of Northwich have asked for it and we are now delivering it as we have always wanted to do.”
Of the £175,000 grant funding awarded to the CRT, £121,000 comes from the growth area programme and £54,000 from the capital programme. It could be in place as soon as October.
David Roberts, chairman of the group behind Northwich’s recently-adopted Neighbourhood Plan, said the announcement was a long time coming.
“It has been on the cards for more than two years,” he said.
“Moorings on the River Weaver in Northwich are inherently a good thing and in that sense we should applaud the decision taken.
“It’s the tip of the iceberg for the potential of the river.”
Cllr Sam Naylor, Northwich Town Council and CWAC member, said the plans addressed an oversight in Northwich’s regeneration.
He said: “We missed a trick in not getting it right before we committed to developing on the scale we did at Barons Quay.
“This pontoon could be the first piece in the jigsaw in making the river a go-to destination in itself.
“The opportunities are endless, and I’m determined to work with partner agencies going forward.”