The Portal, CWAC, P CWAC
Pick Everard designed The Portal. Credit: via CWAC

CWAC’s £16m public service hub completes

Julia Hatmaker

Dubbed “The Portal,” the Ellesmere Port building will be used as offices for the council.

Vinci Construction UK handed over the 52,000 sq ft structure on 9 December. ADT Workplace will begin the fit-out and furnishing process in January, with Cheshire West and Chester Council staff aiming to move into the new facility in the spring.

Pick Everard is the architect behind The Portal. Plans for the building were approved in 2019.

Opting for a new build on the site of an old bus interchange was deemed more cost-effective than refurbishing the council’s Civic Way offices, according to the council. Those Civic Way offices will be demolished, with the site being available for redevelopment.

The Portal has been built with solar panels, an air source heat pump and multiple electric vehicle charging points.

When open, the council said that The Portal would house not just the council but third sector organisations such as Job Centre Plus, the Work Zone and Citizen’s Advice.

“The Portal” was chosen from a selection of more than 50 names suggested by council staff.

“The name references the name of the town often referred to as The Port whilst also being an entrance and a building bringing a range of partners together to deliver services, help and support,” said Cllr Louise Gittins, leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Gittins went on to describe the building’s role in the changing Ellesmere Port scene.

“The new building is part of the huge regeneration taking place in Ellesmere Port, this construction generated £5.3 million local spend, provided 27 local jobs, 106 apprentice weeks and opportunities for local schools and colleges to learn more about the construction industry,” she said.

Half of the required funding for The Portal came from the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership.

Clare Hayward, chair of the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “It is really exciting to see the huge amount of investment, including for The Portal, coming into Ellesmere Port.

“The town is going from strength to strength at the moment and with HyNet receiving Government backing earlier this year to potentially bring hydrogen production plants to Ellesmere Port, the future is bright,” she continued.

“We are pleased to be able to support projects such as The Portal in the area and look forward to it opening in the new year.”

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