Five-year plans for river banks
go on show
FIVE-YEAR PLANS for the town's riverside area were put
on show for the first two weeks of May in the
Civic Hall. But you can see the plans on this page.
In a press release -
of which he kindly sent me a copy - James Thompson, Nantwich Riverside Project
for Cheshire East Council, said: "The
future aspirations and proposals for the area are being put
forward by the Riverside Project and are a result of three years
of consultation with users of the green space adjacent to the
plans have been produced in partnership with organisations
including the Weaver Valley Regional Park and the Mersey Basin
Tales from the
James Thompson, former Nantwich Riverside Project
Manager for two borough councils, and now Executive Director of Greenspaces
Cheshire CIC, is a familiar face around the banks of the River Weaver. Here, he tells about
the latest events down on the
"Comments are encouraged to gauge public opinion, inform
decisions and gain new ideas.
have come a long way over the last three years and are now ready
to work on some of the big ideas to protect this wonderful area
and realise its potential as a resource for
told me: "The
thing that we need to be careful of is that these are aspirational
plans, some of which have had a lot of groundwork already done. None
of these are set in stone at this moment in time and some of them
will have sensitive issues involved to be overcome."
Accompanying the plans is a key which lists ideas of what can be
done in the various areas. I have selected one or two items is most
1: Reaseheath College wet grazing land.
2: A500 buffer
land off Riverbank Close. Proposals include a pedestrian link across
4: Reaseheath College grazing land.
Henhull landscape buffer zone (an area of private land). There are ideas
- the owners will, of course, decide - for planting areas of
woodland with walks and bridleways; preserving the sight line to
Acton Church and views over the adjacent wetland areas; and
promoting pedestrian links from the Waterlode and Beam Bridge.
Nantwich wetland (north), another area of private land. Ideas are
suggested for creating areas of open water and wet
meadow, as well as promoting "appropriate" access to
areas with bridges, boardwalks and informal pathways.
Nantwich wetland (south), yet another area of private land, accessed from the existing footbridge off
Manor Road. Ideas here for creating areas of open water and wet
meadow, with significant areas of wetland habitat. Access will be as
in Area 6.
8 is designated as "Community Events Space" and is an
area of private land. The idea is that it should be maintained as grazed pasture/wildflower meadow. Access
be created from the Waterlode and Nantwich Town F.C. ground. Also,
the area could be used for "occasional, low-impact, seasonal
community events" such as country crafts and kite flying.
James Thompson stresses: "As with all areas, the
suggested ideas are all aspirations based on what local focus groups want to see".
9 (back towards the top of the plan) - Manor Road riverside. It would
have a new footbridge across to Area 4 and be managed as a formal
open space. The lighting will be improved. Safe waterside access points would be created along with
landscape enhancements next to the swimming baths with a viewpoint
across the wetland areas.
(unnumbered at the foot of this section of the plan, but see the map
below) is the Snow Hill
Area with Area 10a described as an "extra area" of that
Area 11, land off Kingsley Village housing development,
the plan would be to extend a multi-user access route along the
river bank to Welsh Row.
Many will recognise Area 12
as Mill Island, site of the Battle of Nantwich re-enactment and
location of the Nantwich Food and Drink Festival. A new bridge and
multi-user access link to Welsh Row, listed in the plan, has already
Further plans are to
refurbish/rebuild part of the former
Nantwich Mill, incorporating a Weaver Way visitor hub and
hydroelectric project. [As reported in this
Nantwich in Bloom item, the project would use the water flowing through the
mill race to generate power for events on Mill Island.]
The much-needed (my words, not
the plan) ground condition
improvement on Mill Island, and a better events infrastructure, are
included in the plan.
Improved hard and soft
landscaping to Mill Bridge Gateway Area (a new name to me) with a
potential for temporary refreshments kiosks and open-air coffee bars
overlooking the river is a feature of the plans that I like.
Listed in Area 12, but
really part of the plans for Area 13 (Weir Pool), is the
creation of a viewpoint from the "raised area" (the bridge?). Also
listed in the ideas for the Weir Pool are water-based events such as
lifesaving and floating displays. Whatever the latter are.
Area 14 is land off
Riverside (the road, that is) where enhanced access routes with avenues of
trees are in the plans.
A large rustic play area is
envisaged for Area 15, land off Queen's Drive, with
enhancement of wildflower meadow areas and avenues of trees, and work
with areas of wetland
to create areas for pond dipping among the plans.
The ideas listed for
Area 16 (land off Shrewbridge Road, north) have mainly been
introduced (e.g. the willow coppice), as have some for Area
17 (Shrewbridge Road, south), such as the
trees by the Airman's Grave.
Others include the
promotion of an area for outdoor
educational activities,and areas for pond dipping.
Area 18 is land
adjacent to Fields Farm, a privately-owned field with
a public footpath link to Area 19, the south-west
buffer zone, privately-owned grazing land. That's the railway line
running through these areas on the plan.
The Serpentine Lake (Area 20) looks remarkably like the
silhouette of a cartoon serpent here (hence the name) Plans for this area include
de-silting the lake, as well as enhancing the waterscape and habitats,
incorporating safe waterside access. A reed bed area created at the
southern end would minimise future silting, says the plan.
It is also envisaged that a
viewpoint would be established on raised ground to take in the
waterscape and open countryside. The existing Shrewbridge Road car
park area would be improved.
Nantwich Lake (Area 21)
would get improved and enlarged car parking facilities and the
creation of a safe new access point off Shrewbridge Road. There
would be "significantly" improved lakeside access incorporating
picnic areas, viewpoints and a new bridge link to Weaver Way and the
A "new sustainable public
building" is planned for the western side of the lake, incorporating
a cafe, public toilets, a meeting room, and a lake access
activities such as model boats would be promoted at the northern end
of the lake.
An area I have heard of through the
activities of the Nantwich in Bloom committee in
co-operation with local schools, but didn't really know where it
was, is Coed Wen (Welsh for white wood, I believe). That's Area 22.
[Where "Coed Wen" came from]
Here a circular
walk around the area is envisaged with ponds and "seasonal scrapes"
in the wet areas. The car park would be re-evaluated with the
creation of a safe crossing point to link with the Nantwich Lake
area, together with an enhanced pedestrian gateway.
Area 23 is the
Southern Buffer Zone, an area of private arable land. Among the
proposals is a new footpath link to Brine Leas High School and Weaver
Primary School including two new footbridges across the River
Finally, back to the top of
this section of the plan, where Area 24 is Brookfield Park.
Proposals include a multi-user surfaced route from the railway
station to the riverside, and a new road crossing point and green
pedestrian route to the allotment site and play area.
By the way, the symbols of a white star
in a black circle on the plans indicate "access gateways".
on this page are reproduced by kind
Cheshire East Council's former
Nantwich Riverside Project.
The cross-site proposals
Riverbank enhancements for
biodiversity and BAP species.
Environmental enhancements to
connective transport corridors
Co-ordinated suite of street
furniture, signage and lighting
Management and reinstatement of
Public art through a Sculpture
Trail and way markers and interpretation
Improved riverbank access for
all user groups
Refurbishment of footbridges and
Management of invasive species
(e.g. Himalayan Balsam)
Promote use of reed bed
treatment systems, swales and sustainable urban drainage
systems on feeder streams to reduce the likelihood of
pollution through nutrient enrichment