Work on the £16m, 52,000 sq ft public service centre and bus hub in the town centre is set to start in the coming months with Cheshire West & Chester due to sign off the scheme next week.
The council’s proposals will see a significant portion of Ellesmere Port’s town centre redeveloped by 2021, with contractor Vinci in line to start work in October if plans are approved at a meeting next week.
Under the proposals, Cheshire West & Chester council’s offices on Civic Way and the existing bus station will be knocked down. The new public service hub will be built on the latter site, next to the Mercer Walk entrance of the Port Arcades shopping centre.
Council staff are set to relocate from the Civic Way offices to the new service hub once it completes; the Civic Way offices site will then be developed for housing; the council said demolishing the existing offices was “the most cost effective solution” given the “higher cost” of refurbishing the buildings.
Buses are set to be rerouted to a new interchange along Civic Way under the plans.
The 52,000 sq ft public service hub reaches three storeys and will provide 530 desk spaces in a customer service centre, Job Centre Plus, and offices split between the council and the Department for Work & Pensions.
While there are currently 683 desks across the two sites council staff will relocate from, CWAC said it was “confident that, with greater encouragement of its adopted agile and flexible working practices by letting staff work flexibly from other offices across the borough, and with some homeworking, the new hub building is the right size”.
Half of the scheme’s £16m cost is being met by the Cheshire & Warrington LEP, through Growth Fund money, with the remainder provided by the council.
Pick Everard is the architect while Avison Young is planning consultant; a public consultation was held in early June and plans were submitted last month.
Cheshire West & Chester’s planning committee is due to approve the project at a meeting next week; a report ahead of committee said the proposal “offers an opportunity to regenerate this key focal point in the town centre” with “the potential to create an effective catalyst to regenerate Ellesmere Port to kick-start the wider town centre masterplan”.
Avison Young is planning consultant.