CWAC seeks fresh design team for Northgate

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Cheshire West & Chester Council is formally procuring a new design and development team for the £300m retail-led scheme in Chester city centre.

Up until this point CWAC was advised by ACME, scheme architects; Davis Langdon, cost consultants; WSP, covering transport, archaeology and structures; and DTZ providing commercial support. It will now be seeking to appoint a multi-disciplinary design team to finalise plans, with the value of the contract estimated at between £2m and £6m.

At a special meeting in September CWAC unanimously supported the proposals drawn up by the current team. The new team is intended to take the project through to planning, which is expected to be submitted in spring 2015.

CWAC acquired a large part of the retail development area from ING Real Estate Development UK in December 2013 in a "multi-million pound deal". The land acquired by CWAC included The Forum shopping centre; the grassed and landscaped area bounded by St Martin's Way, Hunters Walk and Princess Street; land and paved area east and south east of Goldsmith House and Hamilton Place; Kirkton House, Hunter Street and land to the west side and rear of Hunter Street.

The concept scheme currently proposed by the council contains 375,240 sq ft of retail, including an anchor department store, 51 standard-sized shops, two kiosks and five major store units; a small food store of 6,555 sq ft and 79,233 sq ft of food and beverage units. Parking is proposed both underground and in a multi-storey car park. The total number of spaces is 954, which include replacement, new and upgraded parking spaces.

A new bus facility is included at Gorse Stacks within the transport strategy, subject to public consultation, and direct public transport access into the site with three bus lay-bys for dropping off/picking up adjacent to a new market hall.

In February 2012 the council ended its agreement with ING after 10 years of planning the scheme with no brick laid.

The deadline for applications to the contract is 17 March 2014. DTZ will continue to advise the council on the scheme.

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