A vision to shape regeneration in Chester over the next decade has been approved by Cheshire West and Chester Council, delivering improvements to travel and public realm as well as creating new homes to meet local need.
The Chester City Gateway project, led by a partnership of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Network Rail and regeneration specialist LCR, will transform the area around Chester Railway Station into a new high-quality destination for sustainable living and working.
Approval for the masterplan — known as the Strategic Regeneration Framework (SRF) — follows extensive engagement with the community, with more than 400 local residents, businesses and stakeholders having their say on plans across drop-in engagement events, emails, letters and online surveys.
The SRF sets out the strategic vision, key initiatives and overarching principles for the Chester City Gateway, which will be used to attract inward investment, support future funding bids and inform planning applications.
Part of this vision includes delivering over 600 new homes, and providing significantly enhanced green travel connectivity to the city for all visitors and residents, particularly communities to the north of the station.
The project will also provide a new arrival experience to the city and a ‘gateway’ to Cheshire, North Wales, Merseyside and beyond.
The plan’s five key initiatives will underpin development in the gateway area These consist of:
- An improved Chester Railway Station experience that enhances the gateway into the city with improved public realm.
- Supporting greater accessibility and prioritisation of walking and cycling, including by introducing a new pedestrian and cycle bridge, to create an integrated transport hub.
- Consolidating and improving car parking to better reflect the needs of station users.
- Delivering high quality placemaking and public realm that creates a place where people want to live, spend time and work.
- Meeting local housing needs by diversifying the housing offer for local people in an area of high demand but low supply.
Cllr Nathan Pardoe, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Economy, Regeneration & Digital Transformation at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “Chester is a fantastic and vibrant city, and the City Gateway area forms the first impression of many visitors to Chester. Approval of the Strategic Regeneration Framework means there is an aspirational vision for positive transformation.
“Responses to the framework consultation show clear enthusiasm for improvements to the station experience, active travel, public realm and new homes. We’d like to extend our thanks to our staff as well as LCR, Network Rail and all our partners who have contributed to the framework.
“Thanks also to members of the public and the groups who took part in the consultation and who shaped this long-term vision for the City Gateway area.”
Peter Rowe, Senior Development Manager at LCR, commented: “This is an exciting milestone for the Chester City Gateway, and it sets a clear blueprint for unlocking regeneration and delivering tangible benefits for the city’s community. And the people of Chester have been central to the progress of the plans so far, with their input into the SRF proving invaluable.”
Robin Dobson, Group Property Director at Network Rail, said: “The approval of the Strategic Regeneration Framework is an important step in the transformation of this core part of the city. As a major landowner and long-term investor in regeneration projects, we have a unique ability to create partnerships such as these around vital transport hubs. The combination of development and infrastructure expertise generates real value and will help to deliver an improved neighbourhood for Chester’s communities and visitors, alongside driving wider economic growth for the region.”
Following approval of the SRF by the Council, the partnership will now work towards appointing a design team to develop detailed plans for the first phase of regeneration, which will then be subject to further community consultation and planning approval. The approved SRF can be viewed here: www.chestercitygateway.co.uk.