A Letter from Nantwich  

October 2008                                                                                                       


Residents' views on Snow Hill plan sought

(Of course, the deadline for comments has now passed*)






This aerial view of the Snow Hill area is taken from the website of Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council, announcing a consultation about the future of the area.

TWO years on from the announcement that the Snow Hill / Swine Market area was to get a facelift, Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council sought the views of Nantwich residents on the plan.

   They consulted the traders of the town and put the plans on show to the public at three exhibitions (well, a three-panel display board) - at Nantwich Civic Hall, Brookfield Hall, the home of Nantwich Town Council; and Nantwich Swimming Pool - or the Brine Baths

   The deadline has now passed but apart from the opportunity to comment at one of the three venues, the public were able to download a PDF from the borough council's website or complete an on-line questionnaire.

   I expressed my views on line. This way mainly consisted of clicking on to radio buttons (those little circles with a black dot inside them) although there was one section where you could express your opinion more fully.




THIS picture is of Oat Market, with Swine Market in the background, in the 1960s. Obviously, this is before High Street was pedestrianised. It is taken from a postcard published by Promise which I happened to have in the family "archives".  

   That was where I told the council that I didn't agree with a widely-held view that Swine Market was an eyesore and should never have replaced the old buildings in the area. I am of the opinion that Nantwich should have buildings representative of as many decades as possible - good or bad! As such, the shops should stay.

   I can't remember the condition of buildings such as Carrington's newsagents, the Zan household goods shop, etc. They looked fine, but outsiders rarely know the state of buildings. Were they safe and fit for use? 

   Was there no alternative to their demolition?  See the foot of the page for two pictures of the older buildings. The saving of the Brine Baths (a.k.a. Nantwich Pool) is of paramount importance. And while  an hotel would be acceptable, the area must


 not become yet another housing development site.

   I see in the Nantwich Chronicle (October 22) that traders are saying they don't want the shop premises in the block demolished - even though there are other places in town they could move to. They have also said they would prefer Swine Market to be pedestrianised.


BEVERLEY Cope - formerly the young lady at the helm of the Nantwich Now Market Town Project, and now Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council's Senior Communications Officer - said there was no reason why the facelift could not be part of the Riverside improvement scheme with a hotel, for instance, overlooking the river. The public were not being presented with two or three alternative schemes, all faits accomplis. They were being asked for their own


 views which, Beverley promised, would be taken into account. As I understand it, this is not a publicity stunt exercise which falsely gives the impression that views might be considered when, in fact, all is cut and dried.

   Beverley told me that comments so had been positive. She stressed in The Chronicle that nothing was set in stone yet, adding "it could be all or nothing".

   One suggestion I heard had me puzzled. It was for Beam Street to be extended - through the current shops obviously - running to the River Weaver bridge in a straighter line than turning into Oat Market. Apart from meeting the junction of the Water Lode at an odd angle, it would do little to alleviate the delays at this point which is caused by having a four-way traffic lights set-up - one road at a time.

    So what would be then point?


"Your views will be considered"

A DOCUMENT on the borough council's website stated: "The Snow Hill study area, including the former gas works on St. Anne’s Lane, covers around six hectares of land.  It includes:

  • The existing Nantwich Pool and Brine Pool

  • Around 300 car parking spaces

  • Retail and other commercial properties on Swine Market

  • Public toilets and recycling facilities

  • The River Weaver "


*And it promised "All views will be recorded and considered.  Once all the views have been collected, further public consultation will take place on the preferred option in November/December 2008." The Council will then confirm the way forward and hand over the agreed strategy for Cheshire East Council to deliver."


The original letter from August 2006  

£230,000 promised for facelift




Snow Hill car park - with the swimming baths in the background

WELCOME news has been announced (Nantwich Chronicle, August 9) that the start of a big facelift scheme for parts of the town is imminent after Nantwich Now Market Town Project managed to get a promise of £230,000 from Rural Enterprise.

    It is the first of three phases of a £600,000 scheme for the town. The first phase covers:

lSnow Hill: improved footways, together with new lamp posts, bins and signs.

lThe Square: new street furniture. This includes "furniture" literary with the replacement of old seats. There will be new litter bins,  upgraded notice boards and an improvement to the electricity supply route for the Christmas tree lights.

lMill Island: as The Square.


THE second and third phases - due to start in November after businesses have been consulted on the work - will include:

lPart of the Riverside scheme. This will include a "major enhancement" of Mill Island "to make it more easily accessible", says The Chronicle (presumably quoting a press release from Beverley Cope (the Nantwich Now Market Town



Swine Market.  A tourist attraction? I don't see it myself

Project Manager).

    A small bridge from the island to the old Gas Works site across the River Weaver, £113,000. This will make it easier to get to Welsh Row from this part of the town centre.

   This bridge was included in an idea for the island (covered here) which was proposed just over a year ago. 


lFurther improvements in Snow Hill, including the

open-air swimming pool.

lImprovements in Swine Market. A feasibility study for Snow Hill and Swinemarket will look at possible community use and "economic benefits as tourist attractions". Not sure what will attract tourists to those particular areas. We will see.

    I asked Beverley Cope whether this latest news meant that the suggestion of a new Tourist Centre for Mill Island was a step nearer. This is particularly relevant as Nantwich Civic Hall undergoes a two-month project which will culminate in the moving of the Tourist Information Centre from the Parish Hall in Church Walk to the hall.

   She told me: "We actually have no preconceptions about what the feasibility outcomes will be. It will explore all possible avenues. Many people have expressed an interest in locating a combination of community and tourism features on this site but until the consultation is carried out we won't know whether any of these ideas are possible or, indeed, wanted. It will be interesting to see what emerges over the next year."  

  UPDATE March 2008 

Master plan announced for area revamp

"A MAJOR revamp" of the Snow Hill and Swine Market areas of the town was announced in the "Nantwich Chronicle" which, it is said, will include:

  • A hotel

  • Shops

  • A restaurant

  • Flats

  • A sliding roof at Nantwich Swimming Pool

  • A Health and Fitness Suite and

  • More car parking - possibly in a multi-storey


park. Well, Nantwich certainly needs more car parking - even when the addition of the Weaver Stadium parking on non-match days occurs - but a multi-storey park?  

   Residents and businesses are to be asked about the plans later.

   The facelift will also cover the former Nantwich Gasworks site, which the same edition of the weekly newspaper says has just been linked to Mill Island by a footbridge

 The £132,000 footbridge link will enable motorists parking on the St Anne's Lane car park - adjacent to a


proposed housing development - to walk straight on to Mill Island without going "all round the houses" back into Welsh Row and along the Waterlode for town centre events.

   It will also provide a more direct route to the town centre via Mill Street (across the Waterlode from Mill Island).

  The footbridge is the result of work by Nantwich Now Market Town Initiative with money from Rural Enterprise, Cheshire County Council and Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council and others.

 UPDATE September 2010

A KEY investor for the Snow Hill area could be attracted by the 550 homes proposed by Reaseheath College, the education establishment's chief are suggesting. 

  In a report in the Nantwich Chronicle (September 8) about a visit to Nantwich Town Council by the College Principal, Meredydd David and director Mark Embrey.

   Mr David is quoted as saying: "An increase in the

Homes plan 'could save Snow Hill scheme'


population of Nantwich would encourage an investor in Snow Hill. The more people living here, the more companies would be willing to invest.

    Mr Embrey is quoted as saying: "Nantwich is a beautiful town and we want to make sure the development is of a high quality because it will act as a gateway.

   "We do not want it to detract from the beauty of Nantwich."

   That's as good an argument in favour of the college's new homes plan as any, I suppose.


 Premises that used to be in the area

Left: Carrington's, on the corner of Swine Market and High Street, was demolished for the current buildings. Should it, and others have been saved? Pictures from "Lost Houses



Right: Carrington's shop (on the left) was then the Chronicle office. The twin-gabled building became the Zan shop at the end of Swine Market and Oat Market.


 See some more interesting pictures of Snow Hill