Chester Northgate Planning Application June 2019 4
Credit: via planning documents

Approval nears for revised £60m Chester Northgate

Charlie Schouten

The first phase of Cheshire West & Chester’s long-awaited mixed-use scheme will go before the council’s planning committee next week with the £60m project on course to open in 2021.

The £60m first phase of the wider project, which has Vinci attached as main contractor, is set to feature a new market, cinema, a multi-storey car park, and leisure. The tenants already signed up are Zizzi’s, Cosy Club, Tapas Revolution, and cinema operator Picturehouse.

Although hybrid planning permission was originally secured in 2016, the council has rejigged the proposals with an alteration to the existing consent along with a new planning application for a multi-storey car park.

These design changes follow a change in architect for the scheme with AHR replacing ACME in December last year, as revealed by Place North West.

The multi-storey car park has also been included following pressure from local businesses, which argued the original plan of relocating the existing Crowne Plaza hotel to the site would be akin to “burning money”. This multi-storey car park is set to include 788 spaces, and the design changes to the scheme have been largely well-received by local stakeholders.

Under the council’s timeline, enabling works will begin in October. Speaking to Place North West last year, council figures said the first phase was likely to complete in spring 2021.

In late October last year, the council signed off an additional £6m to deliver a revised planning application for this first phase. The funding will also go towards further feasibility studies, tenant negotiations, and enabling works.

Chester Northgate Planning Application June 2019 1

The multi-storey car park

The rejigged hybrid application, along with a fresh application for a multi-storey car park, will both go to Cheshire West & Chester’s planning committee next week with a recommendation to approve.

The professional team on Northgate includes Planit-IE; Curtins; Avison Young; Hoare Lea; Rivington Land; Gardiner & Theobald; Aecom; Vectos; WMC; Town Centre Parking; and Fraser Blair Associates.

The second phase of the scheme, which has outline consent, is likely to be brought forward in tandem with a development partner, rather than being developed by the council, according to CWAC chief executive Andrew Lewis.

House of Fraser was originally lined up as an anchor tenant for a 100,000 sq ft store as part of this second phase but pulled out last year.

As of January this year, professional fees on Northgate have stacked up to more than £12m, not including the £6m spend approved by the council in October last year. This includes consultants’ fees, archeology and site investigation, along with letting agents’ fees and PR costs.

According to Freedom of Information requests by Place, fees paid include £1.6m to Rivington Land; £308,000 to Fraser Blair; and nearly £1m in fees paid to a consultant team of Aecom, GVA, Strutt & Parker, and Gardiner & Theobald since 2016. Acme was paid £2.1m since its appointment in 2014, while consultant Chris Morland, who advised on the council’s CPO process for Northgate, was paid more than £611,000.

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With regards the Freedom of Information request that means that since 2014 a total of £5,619,000,00 has been spent following this absolutely crazy idea of the Northgate development scheme.Chester has done without that development for many many years and would not miss it for many more years.Total waste of money but then the council like wasting money. For example the cost for the Park and Ride service is £1,429,000,00 and yet as part of the scheme is a new multi-storey car park.You could not make this up.A far far better project would be to build a true State of the Art bus and coach station at Princess Street.Now that would not be a waste of money.

By Gordon Davies

Gordon – there are very few multi storey car parks in Chester city centre at the moment, another one would be a welcome addition. And Chester has a state of the art bus station built only a couple of years back. Chester needs to attract more visitors, and Northgate looks like a good adaptation of the changing retail market conditions.

By Cestrian

Generally approve but the top stories of that car park will have some of the best views in Chester. It looks out directly to the Clwydian mountains…… What a waste!

By Tim

We don’t need any more shops or restaurants. We do need a central bus station though so it would be better economically and socially to make Gorse Stacks into a multi storey car park and to build a bus station on the Northgate Development.

By Mo

More bars to attract chavs from North Wales and Liverpool. Nice one, not.

By Bill

Ahh I bet you’re a fun guy Bill, pesky people visiting the place, spending their money, terrible aren’t they.

By EggMan

Gordon Davies – heaven forbid you might actually want to go to the cinema! Or to a family restaurant. If you don’t plenty of other people do and they don’t want to leave Chester to do it. If cities don’t keep moving forwards then they will fall into decline. Then you really will have something to complain about.

By urbanista

It seems to have been missed by Cestrian my point about building a multi-storey car park.So let me elaborate,Cheshire West & Chester Council operates a park and ride scheme which the council is hoping visitors to Chester will use.So what is the point of building a car park in the centre of Chester if they are trying to encourage visitors to use the park and ride areas.Just does not make sense at all.By the way if you were to make an effort to check any of the park and ride buses going by they are mostly running empty.My thanks to Mo because those are my sentiments,a true State-of-the-Art bus and coach station at Princess Street would be much more beneficial in the long run that what is proposed at the moment.

By Gordon Davies

CWAC deserve a lot of credit in driving this forward – Chester desperately needs this.


Sorry Bill – are you implying there are no n’er do goods in Chester – how blinkered and silly!

By Bob Dawson

The proposed design of the multi story car park is an eye sore. I was in the process of buying a house which is positioned immediately in front of the new car park and I believe would have reduced sunlight because of its unnecessary height. One thousand pound for a structural survey down the drain well done Chester council for considering this multi story joke!

By Vernon Ward