A former music bar in Northwich that sparked a bar scene revival is set to be turned into a nutrition club after plans were approved by the council.
The old Retros Music Bar on High Street shut its doors for the last time at the end of February 2020 due to a drop in trade over the preceding five months, after kickstarting a leisure resurgence in Northwich town centre after it opened in 2015.
Following the opening of Retros six years ago, many others followed suit – including the Salty Dog, the Salthouse, The Bullring Bar and Barons Lounge – breathing new life into a forgotten part of the town centre.
But following its sad closure last year, plans to bring the three-storey building back into use as a nutrition club were submitted to Cheshire West and Chester Council, which were approved this week.
A report from the planning officer said: “The site is also located within the Northwich town centre conservation area and does not involve the loss of a retail unit with the previous use being a nightclub which ceased use in February 2020.
“As the proposed development does not involve the loss of a retail use, there would be no impact on local retail vitality or viability.
“Further to this, the proposed use would see an increase in footfall during the day and one that would enhance the vitality and viability of the town centre by bringing a vacant building back into use.”
According to the report, the club would have private members dropping in during opening hours to receive coaching sessions with the public able to book initial appointments for a free “wellness evaluation”.
Cllr Sam Naylor, mayor of Northwich, said he was pleased that the building would be brought back into use in a part of town that includes popular venues like the Salty Dog.
He said: “I didn’t object to it although it is a bit of a change of use. But when you think of the positive things that are going on around that particular area, I’m not too concerned about it.
“If it gets a vacant building back into use then let’s go for it. You’ve got that open space next to it, then you’ve got Abda, the new bar where the Wow Shop was, the new set of toilets and the Salty Dog and the new bar at the bull ring.
“That bottom end of town is going to be vibrant so I’m happy with it.”
He said he was more worried about the other end of the high street which has seen several recent closures including long-established store Bratts earlier this year.
“I’m more worried about the Bratt and Evans district as that’s empty shop after empty shop,” Cllr Naylor said.
“That’s why we’ve got to get this flooding situation sorted. Who wants to open a shop in a place you can’t get insurance for? Because unless they do something about it, it’s just going to get flooded again.”
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