An enhanced masterplan for Chester’s £300m Northgate development, to include a new hotel as a replacement to the Crowne Plaza, is set to be considered by Cheshire West & Chester Council’s cabinet next week.
The updated proposals would free up the site of the existing hotel and Trinity Street car park for the anchor department store, formerly earmarked for a site at the rear of the hotel, offering it a more prominent location near to St Martin’s Way.
A replacement 168-bedroom hotel with spa and conference facilities, a rooftop restaurant and public car park would be built on the existing park between Princess Street and Hunter Street.
The new plans follow a review by the council’s development manager Rivington Land to ensure that the masterplan, which was developed in 2012, reflected current retail market requirements and demands.
According to a report ahead of the cabinet meeting, relocating the Crowne Plaza during the first phase of the Northgate development would “create a stronger and more legible retail circuit with additional prime frontage”.
A reduction in the number of planned retail units is proposed, but with an increase in average size to reflect retailer demand.
The report recommends that members support the enhanced masterplan, described as “a superior overall regeneration scheme”, as the basis for bringing forward a planning application in early 2016.
The enhanced masterplan includes a proposal to accelerate a detailed planning application for the space vacated when Chester Library moves into the new cultural centre in November 2016.
The converted and extended former library building would be home to restaurants and bars to complement the neighbouring £37m theatre, cinema and library development.
Residential accommodation also features in the revised proposals, with 40 apartments included as an integral part of the scheme.
The enhanced masterplan also provide four bus stands accessed directly off St Martin’s Way.
Rivington Land was appointed by the Council in July 2014 to steer the Northgate scheme through the planning and development process.
It has reviewed the masterplan alongside scheme architect ACME and leasing agent JLL. who provided market-based feedback from major retailers and restaurant operators about their preferred store sizes and layouts.
The Northgate masterplan outlines the creation of a retail and leisure quarter, anchored by a department store, a market hall, multi-screen cinema and multi-storey car park for 900 cars.