Vinci Construction is due to start work next month on a bus zone at Ellesmere Port, including the demolition of the old bus station to make way for a 50,000 sq ft public service centre on behalf of Cheshire West & Chester Council.
Once the bus zone is operational, the bus station will be demolished in the autumn, allowing the council’s hub building to be constructed on the plot, next to the Mercer Walk entrance of the Port Arcades shopping centre.
Council staff are set to relocate from offices on Civic Way to the service hub once it completes; the Civic Way offices site will then be developed for housing. The council has previously 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 would reach three storeys and will provide 530 desk spaces with a customer service centre, Job Centre Plus, and offices split between the council and the Department for Work & Pensions.
The council stressed the construction work would be undertaken following Government social distancing guidelines, with the first phase of work only needing 15 people on site.
Site investigations to enable the main phase of work to begin took place at the end of last year.
Cllr Richard Beacham, cabinet member for housing, regeneration and growth, said: “We are clearly in a very different environment with most businesses including construction, badly hit by the coronavirus.
“Following the guidance from central Government that construction work can continue if the correct Covid-19 safety measures are in place, it is good news that this important public transport project in Ellesmere Port can now get underway.”
The hub is due to complete in autumn 2021.
The Government’s Local Growth Fund is funding half of the £16m project through the Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership.
Pick Everard is the architect while Avison Young is planning consultant