Chester set to launch Gateway project

Cheshire West & Chester Council has agreed to progress plans for Chester City Gateway, a project to regenerate the railway station and surrounding area.

The cabinet approved an outline business case to plug further investment in the city’s transport infrastructure as part of the national rail development process and masterplan the proposals – although the estimated cost was not decided.

The plans will be brought forward by the council in partnership with Network Rail and London Continental Railways. Each partner is to contribute £68,000 to development costs.

The scheme, which is in the early stages, would see a range of proposed improvements in and around Chester station. The aim is to create stronger links between the train station, the bus interchange and the rest of the city, and improve local infrastructure such as Hoole Bridge.

Proposed enhancements for Chester rail station include an additional platform and new east junction that would allow up to nine more trains through the station.

Other points agreed by cabinet include investment into rail infrastructure to allow more services through Chester, for which a strategic outline business case will be submitted by the end of January. A masterplan will be produced for land around Chester rail station that looks at improving links to the city centre. A consultation will be procured by the end of March, a developed masterplan will be delivered by October, and a decision on the next steps will be given by December.

The final point is to improve access to the city via Hoole Bridge, looking at the transport links for road, pedestrians, and bikes for the M53 Fountains roundabout. Consultants will be appointed by February, feasibility outputs will be given in September, and a decision on the next steps will be given by December.

The Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership has prepared a major transport scheme study to locate priority areas.

The council has secured £65,000 from the LEP to commission a Hoole Bridge and A56 Corridor study to match the same amount to be given by the council.

Chester City Gateway forms part of Chester’s wider regeneration framework, the One City Plan.

Cllr Richard Beacham, cabinet member for housing, regeneration, and growth said: “This project is about bringing forward a bold vision for a new gateway into Chester. It is about looking for opportunities to address some of the key challenges we face in terms of road, bike, train and pedestrian travel in this area of the city and thinking about how we can overcome these while simultaneously identifying land for new housing and commercial premises to grow our local economy.

“Regeneration of the public estate in the area will be the missing link, joining the railway station, the bus interchange and the city centre.

“The Chester City Gateway has the potential to attract significant investment into Chester and deliver the One City Plan. This is the next step in the process, but this recent decision is a giant leap in the right direction to deliver on this very exciting project for our borough.”

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