Selling-off more of its 'family silver'

Published: Thursday, 22 December 2022

THE Canal & River Trust is selling-off more of its 'family silver'.

This time it's the Navigation Yard, near Northwich town centre, up for sale to developers, in order it tells, to raise funds to help maintain its 2,000 miles of inland waterways, Anne Husar reports.

Calls to re-think

But calls have been made for it to rethink its plans to sell off the historically important riverside buildings in Northwich, with a letter to the Chief Executive Richard Parry, Chairman David Orr, Cheshire West and Chester Council Leader Louise Gittins, a group concerned over the plans suggested other uses for the site that would better serve its status as an important historical asset.

The signatories to the letter include Northwich Town and CWAC councillors and Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury as well as representatives of historic and waterway interest groups, it stating:

"We feel this historic site could be developed in a different way that is more beneficial to the town, the River Weaver, and the local community in the long term.

"The site could and should be used to act as a catalyst for regeneration of the local area by helping to promote and publicise Cheshire’s greatest untapped tourist asset, the River Weaver.

"As Northwich is about to lose the last vestiges of Pimlott’s shipyard and related shipyard buildings to housing, Navigation Yard will be the last place with buildings of significance to Northwich’s rich river history.”

Grade II listed

Several of the structures on the site are deemed important historical assets, including the grade II listed Area Office, Navigation House, Clock Tower, and the Scotch Derrick Crane.

It is felt the historic site could be developed in a different way that is more beneficial to the town and the local community in the long term.

The Inland Waterways Association Chester and Merseyside Chairman, Jim Forkin, told:

"We are looking at forestalling the sale, and if it does go through, to keep it as an actual waterside attraction, rather than just ripping it down and selling it off for housing and apartments, as usual."

It has been suggest that potential uses for the site could be as hosting learning spaces, engineering and heritage skills training, public exhibitions, and meeting spaces and possibly small units of office space.