Chester Northgate March 2019 3
A market building forms part of the council's plans for Northgate

Vinci starts main phase at Northgate after funding boost

Dan Whelan

After completing enabling work, construction of the £70m development is underway with Vinci continuing on site.

Following a review, earlier this month the council agreed to continue with funding for the long-awaited development, due to complete in early 2022, to ensure Chester bounces back from the Covid-19 pandemic by driving economic growth. The council signed off an additional £4m, reallocated from other projects. 

Vinci began preparatory work in March and the firm has now started on the main phase of construction, which features a public square, market hall and six-screen cinema.

Additionally, the plans include co-working space and a multi-storey car park alongside restaurants and cafes. 

The tenants already signed up are Zizzi’s, Cosy Club, Tapas Revolution, and cinema operator Picturehouse.

Chester Northgate Planning Application June 2019 4

The project will cost around £70m to build

The regeneration of Chester city centre has been more than two decades in the making, with numerous iterations of various schemes falling by the wayside over the years. 

Outline approval for the current scheme was granted in 2016 with designs drawn up by ACME, but in late 2018, Place North West revealed AHR had taken over as architect.

Fresh proposals were revealed in March 2019 before the green light for the first phase was finally given in September, clearing the way for Vinci to make a start on site. 

Cllr Richard Beacham, cabinet member for housing, regeneration and growth, said: “Chester’s Northgate development will breathe new life into our city.  

“Town centres are in the midst of big change and Covid-19 has accelerated this process. If we want to support the city centre by attracting more visitors and more people to live in the city, then Northgate is the future for all of these things.” 

The wider project team for Northgate includes Planit-IE; Curtins; Avison Young; Hoare Lea; Rivington Land; Gardiner & Theobald; Gleeds; Vectos; WMC; Town Centre Parking, and Fraser Blair Associates.

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The council signed off an additional £4m, reallocated from other projects.
Storyhouse Chester is in a ‘fight for survival’. It is really the first part of Northgate. It made a loss last year and needed a subsidy of £1.36m from CWaC. This will have to increased significantly to balance the books. It may become necessary to phase the Northgate project over ten years

1)Market first – which includes what seems to be yet another restaurant
2) Old library to become mainly offices and commercial
3) Cinema – size to be reviewed
4) Car park

By Andrew Needham

corrected version: This is a reckless development. As a Roman City, Chester has been regenerating for a few thousand years! The article fails to mentions an 8 storey 782 space car park. Why, when exisiting buildings are experiencing increasing vacancies, the Council thinks it is reponsible to spend £75m on new build restaurants and a multi-plex cinema is a mystery. As we can see in the Covid response it is not just the built environment which attracts visitors – great outdoor spaces are needed too. A beautiful green attraction would lure people to exisiting facilities and exisiting empty premises could be used for cinema – if cinema is what people will want in 2022. #RethinkNorthgate #RetroFirst. The Council has declared a Climate Emergency but is carrying on with business as in the 1970s – it should look for Green Growth and true regeneration, not new build.

By Mud and Stars