Former Nantwich gas works - 19-2-2021 (4) (1)

Work has started on a major project to open a new “Cultural Quarter” in Nantwich including a boutique hotel, artisan shops, restaurants and apartments.

Vegetation and trees have been cleared off the former gasworks site on St Anne’s Lane to allow for a six-month clean up of contaminated land.

In an interview with Nantwich News, developers Vision for Nantwich Ltd said the whole Wych House Bank project could be built and open by spring 2024.

Residents aired concerns on social media about the clearance of the site last week, fearing protected trees and wildlife could have been affected.

But developers said today no trees with TPOs or existing bird nesting areas were damaged.

“It was mostly sucker trees which had to be felled to remediate the contaminated land which will be done by bio remediation on site to limit any spoils being taken off site to landfill,” said a spokesman.

“There will also be extensive planting of specimen trees to further enhance the area once the build is complete, with a large amount of public amenity space and pedestrianised river frontage.”

Former Nantwich gas works - 19-2-2021 (15) (1)

Former Nantwich gas works site

They also said fears of flooding on the site were being addressed, and said the flood wall and soil banks will be built up and supported by gabions along the riverbank.

Over the next six to eight months, specialist land clean-up teams will work to decontaminate the land on site.

Foundations will be laid and building work is expected to start in spring 2022 on a 20-bed boutique hotel, four restaurant units, up to 10 small artisan shop units and 28 apartments with a 60-space car park.

There will also be a “fisherman’s walk” to the rear of the old bakery off Wych House Bank for local fishermen to have direct access to the riverbank.

Vision for Nantwich 4

Vision for Nantwich “Cultural Quarter”

“This is something we are keen on implementing to maintain this historic fishing area,” said the spokesman.

There will be a new 3m wide public footpath with disabled access by the side of St Anne’s Lane to access the bridge over the River Weaver.

Agents are already in talks with chains about opening new restaurants. Well-known chains such as Prezzo and PizzaExpress have been linke.

“We’re offering something different and don’t intend to take trade away from the town centre,” said the spokesman.

“The artisan shops will include things such as bakers and woodmakers. There may be a convenience store as this side of the town doesn’t have one.

aerial graphic of cultural quarter

Aerial plan of new “Cultural Quarter”

“We hope there will be a bounce back in the economy from 2022 after this pandemic. Nantwich has grown quite a bit in recent years and there is a need for this sort of development.

“We know there are people who will never be happy, and we’ve seen negative comments about removing a free car park.

“But the site was never supposed to be a car park, it was waste land which the council should have fenced off. It’s an eyesore, and we’re bringing something new and exciting to the town.

“If people want to park, the Weaver Stadium has plenty of excellent and cheap all day parking not far away.

“This project has been over five years in the making and will provide much-needed recreational space for all the new housing that has taken place and of course for the existing townspeople of Nantwich.”

A new, wider pedestrian access to the development will also be created on Wych House Bank off Welsh Row by demolishing the building currently housing a Thai restaurant.

Vision For Nantwich Ltd has posted a video illustrating how the “Cultural Quarter” could look when completed.

(Site images courtesy of Jonathan White)

15 Comments

  1. Martin Bond says:

    I can only echo the comments by other writers. This isn’t a cultural quarter, its a crass commercial development like any other, but with pretentions. The idea that Prezzo is a local business is laughable.
    The way the path through to the bridge is to be diverted around the edge of the site is indicative of the attitude towards the local people.

  2. Mike says:

    Firstly this is an old part of the town and I hope that any archeological remains found by contractors are properly investigated, recorded and artefacts donated to the museum.
    Restaurant’s should be a priority aimed at local businesses and not national chains. As we have seen a lot of those are franchises and as soon as tough trading hits they close and do not return.
    Flooding, whatever measures are taken they have to be aesthetically pleasing, and work once Welsh Row floods it’s time to say good by to likes of the Cheshire Cat. Gabions need to be maintained and kept growth free to be pleasing on the eye.
    Parking. Why do we not have in Nantwich a circular in town bus route that’s cheap linking all the estates and utilise the car parks of Malbank, Brine Leas schools and Nantwich town FC at the weekends ?

  3. Chris Moorhouse says:

    I recall the former Crewe & Nantwich BC had the contaminated land cleaned up in the 1980’s so it was ready for development. I think the cost was about £100k.

  4. Wayne Davies says:

    Yes it’s going to look like all the other towns that have been made a mess of. I think it is a good bet that it will flood in the future.

  5. Ted Dyer says:

    Why is this development described as a “Cultural Quarter” ?? So culture now is pizza eateries, coffee bars and shops.
    Where will the museums, art galleries and theatre fit in with this idea?
    Plus where are the river’s edge plans to enhance quite a scruffy water course, filled with evasive species of plants.

  6. Rich says:

    Maybe we could have an artisan hair dressers or a boutique charity shop!!

    • Carl says:

      CEC: We can’t fill up the existing shops.
      Also CEC; Lets build more shops!!!
      CEC: Give that man a raise, the 5% council tax hike will cover it

  7. JW says:

    A ‘cultural Quarter’? That’s hilarious! It may be culture for footballers’ wives but a boutique hotel, restaurants and apartments isn’t my idea of culture! I can tell you now that it will fail categorically to compliment the elegant Georgian buildings on Welsh Row; then again, the mock-Tudor houses on St. Anne’s Lane are hardly architectural masterpieces. I also weep for the residents of Welsh Row as trying to hold back the Weaver will be no better than Canute’s efforts. The river will simply find another course and it will not be pretty.

  8. Tom says:

    Can’t believe how many negative comments this has generated. This site is a disgrace to the town and all credit to the Developers. There is so much misinformation about flooding, remediation and so on. Planners have a duty to request flood risk assessments, ground remediation reports, highway issues to safeguard the site and its future. The biggest problem here are the people who will not pay for car parking and clog up the surrounding estates, and particularly Shrewbridge Road with thoughtless parking. There is plenty of car parking in the town…..please pay for it.

    • Carl says:

      Yeah, because CEC have a stellar track record of doing what’s best for the area. That why it takes Nantwich residents 2 hours to get through to a doctor, non of the dentists in the town are taking new patients and school places have become a lottery. They keep building new houses and shops while the existing infrastructure is almost at the point of collapse. There are so many more useful things that space could be used and the town centre is what, 50% charity shops now. More shops is just what we need.

  9. Kev Peters says:

    It looks fabulous, and can only add value to the town. Bring it on.

  10. Carl says:

    Less than a month ago that entire area was a good 6″ underwater, the island on the other side of the bridge was feet underwater. Doesn’t seem like the best place to build shops to me.

    Also whether the area was intended to be a car park or not isn’t the problem. The fact remains the area IS a car park right now, all they’re going to do is displace all those vehicles onto the rest of Nantwich. Not only does Nantwich have to pay more for parking than the rest of CECs patch but now they’re pushing more cars into the existing and already overcrowded car parks.

  11. Susan says:

    I hope it is complimentary to our treasured
    historic part on Welsh Row, which it abutts. It would also be wrong for it and the rest of the Shops and current eateries , unique to Nantwich , to put ANY type of Pizza Parlour or Chain Shop there. The spaces should be offered to existing Businesses and make this unique and not Arcadian eyesore Signs. I hope the Businesses in Nantwich insist on this. I note the re planting of Trees on the Bank. We must ensure this happens. It hasnt happened in the Car Park behind The Crown , as promised ? With care and special artistic touches, it could be nice. Without, it will be a horror Story. Any modern Building should be in Oatmarket area now , which is an eyesore, especially when you see what lovely Buildings used to be there. That, being the mistake we dont want on the River.

  12. Lesley Adams says:

    I like how they mention that they’re going to boost flood defences so one assumes the water will run off on flood plains towards reaseath, good job they’re not building thousands of houses there….. (sarcasm)

    Also note the lack of convenience store that side of town, the McColls on Meeanee drive is a 12 minute walk away near the residential area of town.

    They’re also quick to take a dig at the council for not fencing off the land, surely they want to keep the council on their side? Fair play to the council for allowing it to become a free carpark!

  13. Lesley Adams says:

    Great, loads more shops and eateries, as if we haven’t got enough! Schools are still oversubscribed, Dr’s and dentists can’t cope with demand. When are the council going to address those issues???

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