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Chester's Old Palace gets green light to become luxury wedding venue

Five-star wedding and events venue will include 24 en suite hotel rooms.

The Old Palace, overlooking the River Dee in Chester.

Plans have been approved 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 has been granted 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.

Applicant Sanguine Hospitality has ambitions 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 will be repurposed as ceremonial chambers in keeping with the original design intent.

Designed by Edge Architects, the work includes limited external alterations.

A contemporary glazed extension to the western elevation will form part of a new function room with views of the City Walls and Roman Gardens.

And the entrance, lounge, bar and venue offices will be 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.

The design proposals evolved following consultation with Cheshire West and Chester Council , Historic England and appointed heritage consultant, Mel Morris Conservation.

Conor Vallelly, associate at HOW Planning, who helped secure planning consent, said: “Buildings of this nature only make up around 6% of all listed buildings in England, therefore, a highly detailed and sympathetic approach towards its restoration was needed, working in partnership with the council and Historic England.

“The Old Palace is vacant and in need of a new lease of life. Sanguine’s proposals sensitively fulfil this objective, protecting and enhancing its special value whilst delivering a unique 5-star wedding venue for Chester .”

The Old Palace, overlooking the River Dee in Chester.

Originally built in 1745 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 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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