The Forum Shopping c Julia Hatmaker for Place North West

The Forum forms a key part of phase two of the council's Northgate scheme. Credit: Place North West

Chester shopping centre to close as redevelopment options explored 

Forum Shopping Centre will close on December 31 as plans for a residential-led scheme on the site are drawn up. 

The redevelopment of the Forum forms the second phase of Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Northgate scheme. 

The £70m first phase, featuring a new indoor market, a cinema, and several restaurants, completed earlier this year. 

The second phase of the project will see the Forum Shopping Centre and former indoor market redeveloped.  

CWAC owns both, as well as the freehold to the neighbouring Crowne Plaza, which will remain fully operational and could also feature in future development plans.  

The council has previously said that phase two will be residential-led, signalling a move away from heavily criticised plans for a retail-led development. 

House of Fraser had been lined up to operate a 100,000 sq ft department store before the retailer pulled out in 2018.  

Another thing the council is clear on is that, unlike the first phase, the second will be delivered in partnership with a private sector developer.  

“The closure of the Forum is part of a planned strategy to prepare this area for future phases of the Northgate development,” said Cllr Richard Beacham, cabinet member for inclusive growth, economy and regeneration. 

“I am really excited about how we can use this site, and other underused buildings nearby, to bring new life into this area of the city. In the months ahead, I am looking forward to starting to develop these plans so that more people are able to live and work in Chester city centre, which in turn will support local businesses to thrive.” 

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Chester losing out as a general retail centre , to Cheshire oaks and liverpool. It will retain its specialist shopping offer and a strong residential base .

By George

I worked on the redevelopment of the shopping centre back in the early 90’s – it’s a shame that it’s not been refurbished since as it’s in a great location

By James

This is great news! The new Chester Market is already a thriving social venue and more options for city living should be a real draw.

By OverTheBorder

Residential with new city park is best idea but please build for singles, couples, working families rather than the usual well-off.

By Steve Howe

@Steve Howe. I agree. Personally, I’m thinking mainly townhouses here.


Replacing the Crown Plaza Hotel (whilst not be best looking building) would have a huge environmental impact. It should probably stay.

By Chris P

@Chris P. The Crown Plaza could have a deep retrofit. One which involves stripping much of the frame, new fenestration, etc.


It’d be great to see this link to water gate street and an opportunity to get some big name stows on and maybe expand the already thriving food market with some more bars and restaurants.

By Keith

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