Latest Northgate plan unveiled

Cheshire West & Chester Council's latest attempt at a viable masterplan for the Northgate Development project in Chester will be unveiled next Wednesday 7 November.

Northgate masterplanThe council says the development will create 1,600 jobs and generate an annual spend of £143m and additional rates of around £8m.

In February, CWAC ended a 12-year agreement with ING Real Estate after it felt there "was little chance of progress with the arrangement".

The new plan has been drawn up internally without a developer, instead using a team of advisers: commercial agents DTZ; architects ACME; cost consultants Davis Langdon; WSP on transport, archaeology and structures. The design team was supported by a Member Working Group drawn equally from both major political parties and chaired by Cllr Les Ford, deputy leader of the council.

The revised plans describe:

  • Range of retail units, large number of restaurants, multi-screen cinema
  • Replacement ground level market at "a key location for customers arriving by car, bus or on foot, closely linked to the new theatre-library"
  • New and refurbished car parking for 1,000 cars
  • New "open setting for refurbished Town Hall, together with new 'courtyard' open spaces within scheme and comprehensive approach to re-design and use of Town Hall Square"
  • Return to former street pattern of Northgate area; improved linkages to rest of city, redevelopment of 14/20 Watergate Street

Cllr Herbert Manley, executive member for regeneration at CWAC, said: "In January the Council made a clear commitment to Northgate as the key to the future of Chester and we are determined to move forward with the scheme.

Northgate masterplan"I believe our masterplan has the potential to provide a major boost to the regeneration of Chester and to establishing the city as national and regional leisure and visitor destination."

Members of the executive will consider the plans next Wednesday. If accepted, they will go forward for consultation to inform another report early next year. Executive members will consider a joint report by Charlie Seward and Julie Gill, directors of regeneration and culture and resources which highlights the scheme as 'critical' to the future of the economic success of Chester – "a city competing in an increasingly competitive and polarised retail environment."

Cllr Manley said: "I hope that as many business and stakeholders engage in the consultation and feed back their comments to us. We will be talking to all land owners within the area as part of the public engagement process."

Cllr Samantha Dixon, a member of the cross-party working group, said: "I welcome a balanced political group working towards a viable solution to one of the most important aspects of Chester's future sustainability.

"I look forward to hearing the views of residents and business people on the new proposals."

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