A planning application has been submitted for the £300m Northgate project in Chester, incorporating the responses from two consultation events held in the past six months, and setting a start on site date of September 2017.
Northgate has spent more than a decade as a priority item on the development agenda in Chester without ever starting on site. A masterplan first emerged in 2011 and was then reworked after developer Rivington Land was appointed in July 2014 to steer the scheme through the planning and development process. Architect ACME and surveyor JLL advise Rivington.
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The £300m project aims to deliver around 500,000 sq ft of new retail, restaurant and leisure facilities which, if approved, will be built over two phases of construction.
Phase one, which is forecast to start in autumn 2017, will see the development of two restaurants within the shell of the current library building, a new market hall replacing the current Chester Market, a six-screen cinema and a 167-bedroom hotel and conference centre, as a replacement for the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
The Crowne Plaza, Forum Shopping Centre and several other buildings on the site would be demolished in 2019. Work would then begin on the second phase of construction to create the main retail offer, department store and residential.
More than 1,100 people visited two public exhibitions held in Chester in December and March, and the scheme has developed in response to comments made by the public and by statutory consultees. Changes include adjustments to height, improvements to public realm, additional entrances to buildings and vehicle access points.
David Lewis, managing director of Rivington Land, said: “We are at a point where we have sufficient confidence in the commercial market prospects of the Northgate Scheme to advise the Council to make this application for a major redevelopment of the city centre. We have worked hard with the Council and consultees to fine tune the detailed design of Chester Northgate to ensure the best possible fit with the city’s needs and the demands of retailers and other commercial interests.”
Once the planning application has been lodged there will be a formal 16-week period of statutory consultation on the scheme proposals, leading to a decision by the planning committee in early autumn.
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