Cheshire West & Chester Council is pushing ahead with its mixed-use scheme in Chester city centre by submitting another planning application for the long-running project.
The £60m first phase of the wider project, which has Vinci attached as main contractor, is set to feature a new market, cinema, a multi-storey car park, and leisure. The tenants already signed up are Zizzi’s, Cosy Club, Tapas Revolution, and cinema operator Picturehouse.
The council signalled its intention to overhaul the existing consent for the scheme’s first phase in December last year by replacing existing architect ACME with AHR, as revealed by Place North West.
Planning permission was originally secured in 2016; the latest changes have been submitted as a variation of the existing hybrid consent.
In late October last year, the council signed off an additional £6m to deliver a revised planning application for this first phase. The funding will also go towards further feasibility studies, tenant negotiations, and enabling works.
Under the council’s timeline, the planning application will go to committee in September 2019, and subject to approval, enabling works will begin in October. Speaking to Place North West last year, council figures said the first phase was likely to complete in spring 2021.
The second phase of the scheme, which has outline consent, is likely to be brought forward in tandem with a development partner, rather than being developed by the council, according to CWAC chief executive Andrew Lewis.
Cheshire West & Chester’s director for commercial management, Graham Pink, said: “We’re really excited about the development of Chester Northgate. We have a unique opportunity to create a vibrant destination within the historic city of Chester.
“This development is part of our commitment to major investment across the city to create a city centre for the 21st century, offering a choice of leisure experiences and social spaces for residents and visitors.
“Increasingly councils need to invest in their towns and cities to address some of the challenges they face. We intend to create a high-quality environment to enhance the special sense of place that Chester offers and to respond to the demand for flexible and characterful spaces for different uses; creating spaces for start-ups through to established businesses.
“By moving forward with this phase, we can provide an attractive backdrop to future development phases and give investors the confidence they need to invest in our fabulous city.”
The professional team on Northgate includes Planit-IE; Curtins; Avison Young; Hoare Lea; Rivington Land; Gardiner & Theobald; Aecom; Vectos; WMC; Town Centre Parking; and Fraser Blair Associates.
As of January this year, figures seen by Place show professional fees have stacked up to more than £12m, not including the £6m spend approved by the council in October last year. This includes consultants’ fees, archeology and site investigation, along with letting agents’ fees and PR costs.
According to Freedom of Information requests by Place, fees paid include £1.6m to Rivington Land; £308,000 to Fraser Blair; and nearly £1m in fees paid to a consultant team of Aecom, GVA, Strutt & Parker, and Gardiner & Theobald since 2016. Acme was paid £2.1m since its appointment in 2014, while consultant Chris Morland, who advised on the council’s CPO process for Northgate, was paid more than £611,000.
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