Chester Northgate plans approved

It’s full steam ahead for Chester Northgate following planning approval for plans for the first phase of development at Cheshire West and Chester Planning Committee on 3 September.

Committee members gave unanimous support for the detailed designs for a new indoor market, Public Square, Picturehouse cinema and an arcade within the former library building. The Committee also approved the inclusion of a multi-storey car park as part of this initial phase of development.

Work to build the new leisure destination, in the heart of the city centre, is on schedule to start in January 2020. Chester residents, office workers and visitors can look forward to having a choice of eateries, bars and cultural attractions from cinema to pop-up events as well as the popular Storyhouse library and theatre. The market, which has undergone a revival over the past 12 months, will be relocated as part of the development to provide a dynamic new environment for traders and visitors.

The designs were submitted following extensive public consultation with the views of Chester residents and local businesses helping shape the look and feel of the development.

The addition of green living walls was a popular theme of the responses received and will help bring greenery into the city centre whilst also referencing the Cheshire countryside. The quality of public realm and choice of modern materials will echo the character of historic Chester and enhance the city offer.

The public square will provide an attractive social and gathering space to keep Northgate buzzing by day and night. There has already been great interest from community groups expressing an interest in using the space.

Councillor Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Growth said: “Planning approval for the first phase of the Northgate development is a welcome milestone in a long and complex journey towards building a brand new leisure destination in the heart of Chester.

“This is long-awaited and much needed investment in this part of our city centre and it will have a positive impact for residents, local businesses and the local economy with the creation of new jobs and new work for local suppliers.”

Councillor Stuart Parker Shadow Cabinet Member, Communities and Wellbeing said: “This project is one of the largest investments in the city centre and will help create a dynamic, modern city that is fit for the future whilst preserving all that is cherished from the past. Chester is a very special place and we have the unique opportunity to enhance its richness with new facilities and attractions inside the city walls.

“This is the first chapter and will be proof of high quality development for further investment in Northgate and the city centre.”

The next stage will be the formal appointment of the building contractor with Vinci already selected as the preferred contractor as part of a detailed selection process earlier in the year. The Council will be able to share more detailed information on the programme of works which are expected to start January 2020 as the detailed planning and design work is undertaken with the contractor.