A planning application has been submitted today on behalf of Cheshire West and Chester Council for the plans to develop the Northgate area of the city centre as retail led, mixed use development.
The Chester Northgate Scheme aims to deliver around 500,000 sq ft of new retail, restaurant and leisure facilities which, if approved, will be delivered over two phases of construction.
Phase one which is forecast to start in autumn 2017 will see the development of two restaurants within the shell of the current library building, a new market hall replacing the current Chester Market, a 6 screen cinema and a new, 167 bedroom 4 star hotel and conference centre, as a replacement for the Crowne Plaza Hotel which together with the Forum and several other buildings on the site would be demolished in 2019. Work would then begin on the second phase of construction to create the main retail offer, department store and residential.
The Chester Northgate Scheme has been subject to extensive public consultation since 2011 when the current proposals first emerged. In December 2013 the Council purchased the Forum Shopping Centre, formerly owned by ING and it now owns around 85% of the site.
Over 1100 people visited two public exhibitions held in Chester in December and March and the scheme has developed in response to comments made by the public and by statutory consultees.
Council Leader Samantha Dixon welcomed the lodging of the planning application and said: “This application marks an important milestone in the development of a scheme that will revitalise the Northgate area of the city. Northgate has the potential to mark a step change improvement in what Chester has to offer residents and visitors alike and will help create over 1000 new job opportunities”.
Opposition spokesperson Councillor Stuart Parker added: “I am delighted that the Council is now ready to submit this major planning application which I believe can be a game changer for Chester City Centre. As a member of the cross party working group on Northgate I can testify to the strong support the Chester Northgate Scheme proposals have across the party political spectrum”.
David Lewis Managing Director of Rivington Land, the Council’s appointed Development Manager said: “We are at a point where we have sufficient confidence in the commercial market prospects of the Northgate Scheme to advise the Council to make this application for a major redevelopment of the city centre. We have worked hard with the Council and consultees to fine tune the detailed design of Chester Northgate to ensure the best possible fit with the city’s needs and the demands of retailers and other commercial interests”.
Once the planning application has been lodged there will be a formal 16 week period of statutory consultation on the scheme proposals leading to a decision by the planning committee in early autumn.
Further details of the proposed scheme can be found on www.chesternorthgate.com