A working group of the Chester Growth Partnership set up to feed ideas into the Chester Northgate development met for the first time this week (30 October) and agreed to get fully behind the plans of Cheshire West and Chester Council for Phase 1 of the Northgate leisure and culture project.
Chester Northgate is the largest scheme to be delivered in the city in many years. The £60 million initial plans for the modern mixed use development will include a new relocated dynamic and modern market, six-screen cinema, restaurants, a public square and car parking.
The working group received a presentation on the Council’s plans to proceed with Phase 1 of the development and agreed the importance of this phase in terms of creating confidence and maintaining Chester as a cultural destination.
Councillor Brian Clarke, Cabinet Member, Economic Development and Infrastructure said: “Ensuring that the ideas and opinions of local businesses are included is critical to the success of our plans.
“This new group will be a great asset to help with the future planning for Northgate. The overriding message was to back Phase 1 but also to take time to reflect on future phases to ensure that the development responds to the needs of the wider city”.
The group agreed to ‘get fully behind the scheme’ and to promote the development and opportunities it will create for Chester. A clear message from the group was ‘get on with it’ and to deliver as soon as possible.
Peter Carstensen, who chaired the group said: “This was a positive start for the group with lively and informed debate and a great deal of positivity and passion for improving Chester. If we can capture this enthusiasm and direct it toward helping the Council to deliver a scheme that all of us feel involved in and proud of, then I am confident that we will help address some of the issues that have been raised recently by representatives of the private sector.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the city and we must ensure that it is embraced by all those with an interest in the future prosperity of Chester”.
Going forward the working group will focus on design elements of Phase 1 and the drivers for future phases. It was acknowledged that there are many voices with different interests and it is important to establish a way that these can be heard.
Future meetings will concentrate on the role various sectors have in creating a vibrant and growing city including; retail, residential, offices, leisure and culture as well as the importance of good urban design to complement Chester’s rich history and architecture. These issues will be considered over a series of meetings with recognised industry experts invited to help inform the debate.
The Chester Growth Partnership promotes investment in and development of Chester to deliver sustainable growth in line with the aims and ambitions set out in the One City Plan.
The One City Plan 2012-2027 identifies over 30 large scale projects including Chester Northgate. To date over £194 million has been invested, delivering major projects including; One City Place, King Charles Tower Green and Chester Bus Interchange.
Updated plans for Phase 1 will be released in spring 2019. Pre-construction and enabling works start in autumn 2019 and construction on site in early 2020. The latest timetable has a Phase 1 completion in spring 2021.