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Chester's Watergate Street becoming city's cafe quarter

Existing cafes and tearooms may be joined by more soon

Costa and Barista's in Watergate Street, Chester, could soon face increased competition from more coffee shops.

A city street is fast becoming Chester ’s Cafe Quarter as more coffee shops line up to serve cappuccinos, lattes and flat whites as well as traditional cups of tea.

Watergate Street is already home to Costa, Barista’s, Katie’s Tearooms, 49 Watergate and Booth Mansion, which incorporates an art gallery and tearoom.

Now there is speculation a cafe wants to open in the former Whistles ladies’ clothes store close to The Cross although property specialists Emanuel Oliver will only say the premises are ‘under offer’.

There is speculation there are plans afoot to transform the former Whistles store (right) into a cafe.

And planning and listed building applications have been lodged by Edward White, believed to be one of the twin brothers behind Jaunty Goat in Bridge Street, for a cafe in the undercroft at 24 Watergate Street. The property is currently occupied by a clothes outlet, which is moving to Bridge Street.

The application form states: “Proposed development is the conversion of a retail unit A1, which is the undercroft/basement of the four storey building into a cafe use selling hot beverages and light refreshments.

“The proposal will provide internal seating with a front servery counter, conversion of existing changing rooms into a WC and the rear storage area into a kitchen/preparation area.

A planning application has been lodged to transform the Eva clothes store premises into a cafe after Eva relocates to Bridge Street.

“There are no major building works required, with all existing materials retained and re-used. The finishes include bare-faced brick walls and barrel vaulted ceilings and exposed beams and rafters, these will be retained and remain exposed and incorporated into the design.”

The undercroft is part of a town house currently trading as retail with a bar/restaurant at row level and office accommodation above on the top two floors. The grade II-listed building is probably medieval having been possibly extended circa 1800.

Andy and Jaci Delooze, who are behind The Barista’s cafe, also based within a medieval undercroft, were worried when Costa opened opposite more than three years ago but are doing fine and benefited from increased footfall after a Sainsbury’s Local opened in the street.

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