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Public realm improvements will bring Northwich’s history to life

The Council’s scheme will transform the area with traditional paving, new street furniture and public art features.

  Artist Impression

Northwich’s history is to be brought to life through an exciting public realm scheme that will enhance its traditional shopping area.

Work began 18 July 2012 on the first phase of the Witton Street improvements, which aims to re-introduce a more traditional feel that enhances the setting of its historic buildings.

The Cheshire West and Chester Council scheme will transform the area between the library and Venables Road with traditional paving, new street furniture and public art features.

The footway and pedestrianised area leading from the Meadow Street junction to Venables Road will be re-laid with York stone and granite to echo the early 20th century paving patterns that once characterised the street scene.

Meanwhile, Brunner Court and St Paul’s Courtyard will be re-laid with porphyry sets that will add distinction and identify them as areas for events and relaxation.

Councillor Helen Weltman said: “This exciting new look for Witton Street very much draws upon Northwich’s history, taking inspiration from the salt industry and the unique architectural features that can be found locally.

“We are using high quality materials that will stand the test of time and that we hope will set the quality standard for future enhancements of the town centre.”

New street furniture will include oak bollards and finger posts featuring Tudor motifs replicated from the roof bosses of St Helen’s Church, including one depicting a wicker salt basket.

A Roman salt basket in a roof boss

Other bollards have been designed in the shape of a salt pillar topped with an angular cap that echoes a salt crystal.

St. Paul’s Courtyard will feature a striking design set into the paving that echoes the bold lines of the traditional buildings surrounding it.

This design will be carried through into timber benches and planters that aim to make the square a pleasant place to spend leisure time.

At Brunner Court, the square will be enhanced by new artistic seating and paving depicting local architecture and timber motifs.

Meanwhile, the existing library steps will be replaced with a York stoned design that will provide improved access and enhance the setting of the Grade ll listed building.

Brunner Court will also be fitted with power connections for a Christmas tree, making it a focal point for festive events.

Other features of the project will include ornate tree grills inspired by the roof bosses of St Helen’s Church and new bespoke signage logos for the town centre.

Councillor Tony Lawrenson, a local trader, said: These improvements will give Witton Street a real lift, creating an attractive setting for people to shop and spend leisure time.

“The tired-looking Brunner Court and St Paul’s Courtyard, which currently lack identity, will be given a new lease of life as vibrant places where people can gather for both relaxation and events.”

The public art has been designed by Katayoun Dowlatshahi, an Iranian-born British artist with extensive experience in this specialist area.

Julie Sharman of the Weaver Valley Partnership Board said: “The Weaver Valley Partnership supports these high quality improvements to Northwich town centre.”

Pedestrian access will be maintained to all businesses and properties during the works, which are expected to be completed by October 2012.

It is hoped that work can then begin to improve further areas of Witton Street, subject to funding.