AN advisor involved in the regeneration of the Middlewich Town Wharf has vented his frustration at the lack of progress on the project.

Richard Smith from Fifield Glyn Chartered Surveyors, who is advising the owners of the site, said he suspects another year may pass without Middlewich Town Council starting work on the site.

He made clear that both advisors and clients were frustrated that the lease on the land, which includes the Lock keepers cottage and warehouse, is yet to be completed.

Richard added: “The owners, a family partnership based in Scotland, have done everything they possibly can to facilitate the regeneration of this strategic site, from the preservation of existing buildings through to obtaining Planning Consent for the Town Council to transform the buildings into a much needed Visitor and Interpretation Centre, cafe, and Town Council offices.

“The main lease terms have been agreed between the owners and the Town Council for a considerable time but matters seem to have stalled.

“Quite why this is the situation is not clear, and with funding available for the first phase it seems a great tragedy if the improved Town Wharf is not available for the Boat Festival - for yet another year.

“It seems that Cheshire East and the Town Council are unable to move any faster than the boats on the canal.”

Town Clerk Jonathan Williams responded by saying that the completion of the lease was dependant on the transfer of a strip of land to the side of the warehouse and the public toilets at Leadsmithy Road from Cheshire East and said that until then the Town Council’s hands are tied.

He added: “This is part of the general transfer of assets which includes the Victoria Buildings and the Civic Hall, allotments, the market and the public conveniences at Southway.

“The transfer of the assets is imminent but as a responsible local authority we must ensure that all our transactions are value for money and do not impose a burden on the council tax-payer.

“Not a day goes by without the officers of Middlewich Town Council working to address the outstanding issues in relation to the transfer of assets including the town wharf.”