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Legal order to buy up 70 Chester properties to make way for Northgate

Objections could lead to public inquiry
Computer-generated images of the proposed Northgate Development.

The £300m Northgate Development is one step closer after the council applied to move Chester market and issued an order to buy up 70 properties in the regeneration area.

Northgate aspires to put Chester back on the map as one of the UK’s leading shopping destinations by delivering 500,000 sq ft of new shops, restaurant and leisure facilities over two phases of construction due to begin this autumn.

An impression of what the new Chester market square would look like as part of the Northgate development

The Cheshire West and Chester Council scheme, which now has planning consent but requires financial investment to get off the ground, will include:

■ House of Fraser department store to anchor a project featuring large and small shops

■ New market hall

■ Picturehouse six-screen cinema

■ Replacement Crowne Plaza hotel with conference facilities

■ Parking for around 800 cars

CWaC owns 85% of the redevelopment area but is serving a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to buy up 70 plots including 10 residential investment properties in the area of Hunter Street, St Martin's Way, rear of Watergate Street and Northgate Street behind Town Hall Square.

Affected owners are entitled to compensation.

In addition, an application has been made for ministerial approval to relocate the market from The Forum shopping centre – which will be demolished – into a brand new building within a new Market Square to the rear of the former library. There has been a market in Chester since at least the year 1139.

In both cases there may be objections leading to a public inquiry where a planning inspector would hear the case for the council and objectors with the ultimate decision resting with the Secretary of State.

The Northgate project has been around in various guises since 1991 with the last incarnation foundering due to the 2008 credit crunch. In 2005 there were 87 objectors to what was then a city council-backed scheme triggering a public inquiry that concluded with the CPO being given the go-ahead even though the regeneration never happened.

CWaC says it has been in discussion with affected property owners for some time, who are all aware of why a CPO is necessary to deliver the new redevelopment and will receive a copy of the order over the next week.

Cllr Brian Clarke , cabinet member for economic development and infrastructure said: “We understand that making a CPO to acquire property interests can be difficult for property owners so we have been meeting and talking with them for some time to try and get an agreement that is right for all parties.

Cllr Brian Clarke

“This is a necessary step towards delivering the new Chester Northgate. We are now closer than we have ever been before. The finish line may be in the distance but we are marching towards it.

“We are committed to creating and investing in a vibrant city. We have delivered on Storyhouse, we have delivered Frodsham Street and our residents can trust that we will deliver on Northgate too.”

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