Design team named on Chester City Gateway

London-based architect 5th Studio has been appointed to draw up a masterplan for the area around Chester’s train station, working alongside Arup, CBRE and Faithful+Gould.

Chester City Gateway is a proposal being delivered by Cheshire West & Chester Council in partnership with Network Rail and development manager LCR, which seeks to deliver improvements to the station, as well as promoting other development opportunities on the land nearby.

Work on the station could include an additional platform, alongside public realm, better links into the city centre through Hoole Road and Hoole Bridge, and connections to the bus interchange.

While details of the scale of the scheme are yet to be released, the masterplan will be looking at the potential for commercial, housing, retail and leisure around the station.

A business case is being submitted to the Department for Transport to fund the rail and road elements.

The masterplan is one of three strands of the Chester Gateway scheme, sitting alongside the investment in the rail infrastructure, and the improved road links.

The council’s cabinet approved the proposals in January, and at the time said the design development phase would take up to a year.

LCR led the process to appoint an architect to the scheme, with London-based architect and design agency 5th Studio named as lead consultant.

5th studio will be supported by a local team. Over the next six months, the team will create the masterplan and delivery strategy, working alongside engineering consultancy Arup, CBRE and Faithful & Gould.

Alex Bowker, development manager in LCR’s North West team, said: “The formation of our consultant team marks a key milestone in a project that will help to create public value and unlock significant economic growth for Chester. Our masterplan will ensure that the railway station and its surrounding land reach their full potential, helping to deliver new homes, jobs and community assets.”

Dr Tom Holbrook, director at 5th Studio, added: “Chester City Gateway lies at a crossroads of the key Northern Powerhouse economies of Liverpool and Manchester, the anticipated HS2 hub at Crewe, and is the North West’s gateway to Wales. This is an opportunity to maximise the potential of Chester’s railway station, cementing its role as a key Northern transport hub.”

The Chester City Gateway regeneration project is being delivered through LCR’s ongoing partnership with Network Rail, which aims to realise the potential of land around a portfolio of the UK’s railway stations. Including Chester, the collaboration has 16 active schemes which LCR said has the potential to deliver £2bn GDV and 4,000 homes.

Other LCR projects include Manchester’s Mayfield and Rochdale’s station masterplan.

LCR and Network Rail’s agreement with Cheshire West & Chester Council will see all three parties contribute equally to the cost of producing the scheme’s masterplan and spatial framework. Around £70,000 has already been put forward by each organisation, along with funding from the LEP.

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