Chester Northgate March 2019 1

The proposed market square

GALLERY | Chester Northgate redesign revealed

Architect AHR has showcased its reworked vision for the first phase of Chester Northgate at consultation ahead of a planning application later in the spring.

AHR replaced former architect Acme on the project late last year, as first reported by Place North West, and has worked up a fresh design, ahead of an updated planning application to be submitted later in the spring.

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Cheshire West & Chester’s vision for the site, which has had planning consent since 2016, has undergone some significant changes over the past 12 months, with previous plans to build a new hotel dropped in favour of a multi-storey car park.

Designs have been revealed of the reworked market square, the interior of the proposed market, the cinema, and the multi-storey car park. Site plans and further images can be found here, where feedback on the designs can also be put forward.

CWAC and AHR will look to secure full planning permission for the car park, with changes to the other parts of the scheme submitted via a Section 73 planning application.

Consultation on the updated scheme started in late February, although no new designs were on show. The architect is showcasing its updated vision for the first phase this week at a unit within the Forum shopping centre.

Residential was also set to be added to the first phase, but it is understood this is now unlikely to come forward, with any housing on the site to be included as part of a later phase.

Subject to planning permission, enabling works are due to begin in autumn with a full start on site in early 2020. Vinci is the main contractor.

AHR lead architect Dominic Manfredi said: “A strong theme that has come out of all the stakeholder engagement and public consultation held to date is for Northgate phase one to incorporate natural elements such as green living walls to reflect the beautiful Cheshire countryside and natural timber to reflect the dominant materiality of the city.

“There has also been a strong preference to create a vibrant new destination for Chester which is extraordinary and unexpected, building upon the success of Storyhouse.”

The professional team also includes landscape architect Planit-IE, development manager Rivington Land; client-side project manager Fraser Blair Associates; construction project manager Gardiner & Theobald; cost consultant Aecom; M&E consultant Hoare Lea; highways engineer Vectos; market advisor WMC; and car park advisors Town Centre Parking.

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By Du Be Ous

Doesn’t get More Cheap looking and Nasty than this Stinking Pile..Spend the Money on Quality..Not Quantity

By John lynn

Awful. Chester is a historic city, why are we getting a cut down version of Cheshire Oaks stuck in the middle of it? A facade in keeping with the adjacent historic buildings would be more appropriate.

By Moira Martland

Ethnic diversity lost on the CGI team, not picked up on by the Architects / Landscape Architects or Client.
Architecturally, I like the contemporary take with the Market entrance facades (if a little lacking in finer detailing). The car park, however, is truly dreadful.
“Historic city”, yawn! Lets all build so that everything has a pastiche look shall we? Or shall we all just move?

By Clue

Those green walls have as much chance of being implemented as I have of riding the winner of the 2.30 at the racecourse round the corner…

By Gene Walker

To be fair. It does look truly awful.

By Carl

OMG…. that is worse that the last version… well done!


Actually, to me, the cinema/markets/leisure element seems better scaled than the previous version – and compliments the Storyhouse well, with its massing. Green walls are always welcome and the market seems more light and airy. I prefer the previous incarnation of Hunters Walk – though the differing terracotta could be very effective if executed well. The car park, if a little conservative, sits better by the ‘ring road’ compared to its predecessor proposal. Promising scheme, if some refinement required in places.


We really should not be building massive city centre car parks at tax payers cost, particularly if we don’t need to yet. Apart from the cost, the size and impact of the car park structure, I thought current thinking was trying to dissuade people from using cars, reduce pollution and demonstrate that we are a forward thinking sustainable city? It seems to me this is a similar scenario to chasing the retail solution for 20 years, it was flawed thinking and not future proof. This new proposal (particularly the CP) is as future proof as a snow man in the desert.

By JD Sport

The image of the front of the old library with the caption ‘Entrance to the Market’ is misleading and implies that the market is actually inside the library building, it is not. The Market can be accessed after walking through the centre, out through the back and behind the library.

By Michelle Parry

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