Chester Northgate secures ministerial approval needed to proceed

Chester’s Northgate scheme has taken a big step forward today as a bid to secure the remaining land needed and change the street pattern were given the green light.

Cheshire West and Chester Council has received confirmation that the formal orders needed to acquire the land and change the road layouts have been approved by Government. Ministers also advised that the planned relocation of the market can proceed.

This means the mixed-use project, which was subject to a full public inquiry, can continue to progress and a report will be considered by Council in October to take the scheme forward.

The exciting development will include a new relocated dynamic and modern market, six-screen cinema, restaurants, a public square and car parking.

In the coming weeks and months design work and further consultation with a wide range of stakeholders to meet the long term aspirations of the city will continue. Work will also continue to attract tenants for the scheme in addition to those already secured including Picturehouse, Tapas Revolution, Zizzi’s and Cosy Club, and with the landowners affected by the CPO outcome.

The Council is also reviewing the options for later stages of the scheme to reflect recent fundamental changes in the business environment for retail, and increase the relative importance within the site for good quality housing, leisure and cultural attractions, and high quality public realm.

Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure, Councillor Brian Clarke, said: “Today’s news is fantastic and testament to the hard work of the Northgate team in successfully reaching this important milestone.

“Our aim is to deliver a mixed use scheme that’s appropriate for the next generation rather than having to build something that’s a legacy of the last 10 years’ thinking. The positive decision shows a clear endorsement of the scheme by the planning inspector and the Secretaries of State who confirmed the order and applications.

“Northgate should not be seen in isolation. Its impact on Chester will be to support the whole of the city centre by improving our offer and encouraging more visitors. There will be significant consultation in the months to come which will allow the community and stakeholders the opportunity to shape the future of this part of the city.

“Having secured these orders we are now in a much stronger position to approach investors and potential development partners.”

Cabinet will now receive a report in October detailing the next steps.

Shadow Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing, Councillor Stuart Parker, said: “I’m delighted to hear today’s news that we’ve been successful in securing the permissions needed to bring Chester Northgate to the city.

“Its impact on the whole of the city centre will be to support existing business and encourage more visitors. We can now proceed to the next stage of making this scheme a reality.”