Plans have been lodged to convert the Argos Extra store in Chester city centre into a hotel.
A planning application by BNY Mellon Trust & Depositary (UK) Ltd is for change-of-use consent from retail to a 55-bed hotel with cafe/breakfast room on the ground floor fronting Foregate Street.
Argos is relocating to Sainsbury’s at Great Boughton and the city centre outlet will shut at close of business on Thursday, December 7.
The hotel plans reveal 13 rooms on the ground floor, 21 on the first and 21 on the second. There would be two atriums in the centre of the building to provide light to some of the rooms and corridors. Other rooms would be lit by windows in the rear external walls, while the rear second floor bedrooms would be set within the roofspace and lit by roof lights.
In addition, the Foregate Street frontage would retain the shop fronts – to light the cafe/breakfast room – central entrance doors and upper floor windows to light rooms facing the street.
The application site falls within the city centre conservation area and neighbouring buildings are grade II-listed. There would need to some physical changes such as remodelling the roof to incorporate roof lights, the insertion of windows in rear side walls and the creation of a hotel entrance at the back.
Vehicular access would be at the rear, as now, where there would be a drop-off area and disabled parking. The ‘theoretical’ parking requirement, according to adopted parking standards, is six spaces. The applicants point out a public car park is available in the adjacent Brown’s Yard with frequent bus services outside connecting to the city centre and railway station.
A document supporting the application states: “Foregate Street is a suitable location for a hotel in a secondary shopping street and reflecting the diverse mix of uses in the immediate locality. The proposed hotel is in a suitable location, within walking distance of the main city centre service/facilities and of the main railway station.
“The application site is within the Chester City Centre Conservation Area and close to several listed buildings. The proposals involve minimal changes to the exterior of the building and none to the Foregate Street frontage. A hotel use is compatible within the conservation area.”
There are a few empty units in Foregate Street including the former Bhs store, the old Wilko store and the former Pizza Hut restaurant.