Chester design debate draws crowd

More than 200 people attended a debate about building design in Chester organised by Cheshire Society of Architects, in conjunction with Chester Civic Trust.

The panel debate at Chester University was chaired by Martin Stockley, of Stockley Partnership, and included Stephen Mosley, MP for City of Chester; Cllr Carolyn Graham, Cheshire West & Chester Council member for Blacon and council design champion; Stephen Hodder, RIBA President and founder Hodder + Partners; Stephen Langtree, Chester Civic Trust vice president; Cllr Mike Jones, leader of CWAC and Phil Mayall, director of Muse Developments.

Andy Foster of Andy Foster Architects and past president of CSA, introduced the panel and the pre-submitted questions which focused on the challenge of how historic cities like Chester should move forward but not lose their heritage.

Topics included promoting a more intelligent public debate around design quality in Chester, the role and benefits of an independent design review panel, preventing loss of quality in good schemes due to poor implementation, better assessment of the impact of schemes. Structures discussed ranged from The Walls to new schools, neighbourhoods to the covered market.

Andy Foster said: "Last year's Cheshire Society of Architects' lecture series was titled the New Historic City and was intended to promote good design in historic cities. The series brought together, in the light of the One City Plan, a wide audience including councillors, officers, developers, local businesses, lobby groups and other interested parties and provided an opportunity for debating what we have and what we want. We have certainly delivered this.

"Plans for the 2014 series of lectures are being put in place as we speak and we would love to hear from anyone with a view on the quality of new development in Chester."
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