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Chester's Old Palace could become luxury wedding venue

Plans lodged to create perfect hotel venue designed for tying the knot

The Old Palace, overlooking the River Dee in Chester.

Plans have been lodged to transform the one time official residence for the Bishops of Chester into a luxury wedding and events venue with hotel rooms.

Full planning and listed building consent is sought for a change of use of The Old Palace, which was most recently used as the headquarters for an upmarket travel group.

The Old Palace is a hidden gem of a building in the heart of the city centre and overlooking the River Dee but which has been vacant for a number of years.

Now applicant Sanguine Hospitality wants to bring the grade II* listed property back to life as a wedding and events venue with 24 en suite hotel rooms.

The Old Palace, overlooking the River Dee in Chester.

The former chapel would be repurposed as ceremonial chambers in keeping with the original design intent. A large function room would be integrated on the western side of the main building where a contemporary glass box extension would be added at ground floor level.

And the entrance, lounge, bar and venue offices would he accommodated within the most ‘impressive’ front-of-house rooms on the south side of the ground floor. There is ample car parking and landscaped grounds.

A document accompanying the plans states: “The proposed repurposing of this landmark building is sought. The refurbishment scheme will bring the disused building back to life, enhance visual amenity from the riverside and create a quality venue for the benefit of the wider community.

The Old Palace, overlooking the River Dee in Chester.

“The scheme will also support short term local employment during the construction phases and subsequent long term operational employment opportunities.”

The design proposals have evolved following consultation with Cheshire West and Chester Council , Historic England and an appointed heritage consultant.

Originally built in 1751 for the Bishop of Chester, many may not even be aware of this magnificent building which has a secluded location behind Chester Civil Justice Centre and is adjacent to St John the Baptist’s Church.

It once served as a YMCA hostel but was later converted to an office and served as the HQ for luxury travel group Elegant Resorts Ltd, which is now based on Chester Business Park.

When the travel firm moved out, the building was put on the market for £2,410,000 and successfully sold, with the premises made available ‘to let’ as offices or a hotel subject to planning.

The Old Palace, overlooking the River Dee in Chester.

The three-storey period property boasts an impressive reception area and benefits from many of the original features of the building which have been carefully restored and maintained.

Vehicular access is from Little St John Street but there is also pedestrian access via The Groves leading directly onto the banks of the River Dee.

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