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Northwich shopping centre could make way for housing development

To let signs
Image caption The authority said 28 of Weaver Square's 40 units were left empty

A Cheshire shopping centre where nearly 75% of units have been left vacant is to be demolished and could make way for a major regeneration project.

Weaver Square in Northwich has suffered from "changing shopping patterns", Cheshire West and Chester Council said.

The authority wants to replace it with housing, a hub for public services and a smaller number of shops.

A council spokesman said the "exciting plans" would create "a showcase area for the town".

He added: "Weaver Square, with its many vacant units and poor architectural quality is letting the town down."

The council bought the shopping centre in 2014, two years after a previous owner creased trading.

Last year the authority said 28 of Weaver Square's 40 units were empty.

The "multi-million pound masterplan" would see the centre replaced with 160 flats or houses, as well as a food hall and a public square.

The town's indoor market hall would also be demolished but would not be replaced, with traders instead spreading out throughout the new complex.

A consultation on the proposals is due to run in June.

Earlier this month the council announced it had secured a second tenant for the nearby £80m Baron's Quay shopping complex, where only one of the newly-built retail units is currently occupied.