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Victorian Chester hotel looks to the future

Queen Hotel's growth plan fits with emerging business quarter next door 

The Queen Hotel in Chester

A Victorian hotel is moving with the times after lodging plans for improved conference and function facilities plus a new coffee shop open to everyone.

The Queen Hotel is conveniently located next to Chester Railway Station and the city’s emerging business quarter with the first office block, One City Place, recently completed together with a new public walkway.

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Against that background, hotel owners Topland Group Ltd have submitted plans to extend the hotel’s rear Colonnade Conference Centre which can already accommodate 400 delegates or 300 wedding guests.

The Chester Business Quarter vision with the One City Place office block, recently completed, at the bottom of the picture

The scheme, to be built on a rear car park, would allow the hotel to cater for larger functions with a bigger room, new toilet facilities including disabled WC, plus a new external terrace.

While The Queen Hotel is grade II listed, the newer extensions, including the Colonnades, are not, so listed building consent would not be needed.

The aim is to create a ‘complementary yet contrasting extension’ with floor-to-ceiling glazed doors and windows and an ‘undulating’ timber clad canopy to prevent the room from overheating in summer.

Related story: Chester's £100m Central Business Quarter launches first building

There would be a loss of 10 car parking spaces but the applicant considers this is ‘not significant’.

In a separate application, the hotel owners have applied for planning permission to convert an outbuilding to form coffee shop fronting a new public square or walkway that will open soon and has been created to link the railway station with the new business quarter.

The public walkway linking Chester Railway Station with One City Place in Chester

Residents, commuters and visitors will be able to walk out of the station and through the ‘Carriage Shed’ which features a new glass roof, ‘living’ wall, planting, seating and paving, directly into the new quarter.

Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) invested more than £1.5m in this public realm which involved the renovation of Grade II listed rail sheds.

The document accompanying the coffee shop plan says the proposal is ‘seen as an extension’ to the business quarter.

It adds: “The creation of a coffee shop will further contribute to the activity within the area and will provide a valuable amenity for visitors.“

Decisions are awaited from CWaC regarding both planning applications.

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