Architect AHR has showcased the first of its designs for Chester Northgate ahead of further public consultation, which gets under way this week.
AHR replaced former architect Acme on the project late last year, as first reported by Place North West, and has worked up a fresh vision for the first phase of the project, ahead of an updated planning application to be submitted later in the spring.
Cheshire West & Chester’s vision for the site, which has had planning consent since 2016, has undergone some significant changes over the past 12 months, with previous plans to build a new hotel dropped in favour of a multi-storey car park.
Residential was also set to be added to the first phase, but it is understood this is now unlikely to come forward, with any housing on the site to be included as part of a later phase.
CWAC and AHR will look to secure full planning permission for the car park, with changes to the other parts of the scheme submitted via a Section 73 planning application.
Consultation on the updated scheme started in late February, although no new designs were on show. The architect will now be showcasing its updated vision for the first phase later this week at a unit within the Forum shopping centre.
Residents and local businesses will be invited to offer their opinions on the scheme at the following times:
- Monday 25 March, 09:00 to 12:00
- Wednesday 27 March, 09:00 to 12:00
- Thursday 28 March, 12:00 to 20:00
- Friday 29 March, 12:00 to 19:00
- Saturday 30 March, 10:30 to 15:30
Subject to planning permission, enabling works are due to begin in autumn with a full start on site in early 2020. Vinci is the main contractor.
AHR lead architect Dominic Manfredi said: “A strong theme that has come out of all the stakeholder engagement and public consultation held to date is for Northgate phase one to incorporate natural elements such as green living walls to reflect the beautiful Cheshire countryside and natural timber to reflect the dominant materiality of the city.
“There has also been a strong preference to create a vibrant new destination for Chester which is extraordinary and unexpected, building upon the success of Storyhouse.”
The council has reiterated its desire to engage with the local community on the plans after previously being accused of a lack of consultation, particularly by a group of property and business professionals who backed an open letter calling for a halt to the scheme in May last year.
One of the key issues raised by this letter was the relocation of the hotel, which the council has since dropped in favour of the multi-storey car park.