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 Manager

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 River Weaver.

   "The plans have been produced in partnership with organisations including the Weaver Valley Regional Park and the Mersey Basin Campaign.



 Tales from the



  May 2009



James Thompson, former Nantwich Riverside Project Manager for two borough councils, and now Executive Director of Greenspaces

   South Cheshire CIC, is a familiar face around the banks of the River Weaver. Here, he tells about the latest events down on the Riverside.

   "Comments are encouraged to gauge public opinion, inform decisions and gain new ideas.

   "We 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 the town”. 

   He 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 areas.

   Area 1: Reaseheath College wet grazing land.

   2: A500 buffer zone.

   3, land off Riverbank Close. Proposals include a pedestrian link across Barony Road.

   4: Reaseheath College grazing land.

   5, 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.

  6, 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.

   7, 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.

   Area 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 could 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".

   Area 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.

  Area 10 (unnumbered at the foot of this section of the plan, but see the map below) is the Snow Hill

 Regeneration Area with Area 10a described as an "extra area" of that regeneration.

   In 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 been created.

   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 canal.

   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 point/slipway.

   Low-impact water-based 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 Weaver. 

   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".

The plans on this page are reproduced by kind permission of 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 riverbank willows

  • Public art through a Sculpture Trail and way markers and interpretation

  • Maintenance schedule/management plan

  • Improved riverbank access for all user groups

  • Refurbishment of footbridges and other structures

  • 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


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