CHESTER Performs, the organisation set up to deliver the new arts venue and fill the cultural gap in the absence of the Gateway Theatre, has allocated a £10,000 budget for the consultancy report.

Project manager Andrew Bentley previously opposed resurrecting the Gateway, describing it as “a retrograde step” because he believes the city deserves a modern building which can also deliver music and film.

He said a temporary venue should be created, with the arts centre built at the beginning of the Northgate project and the level of arts activities “beefed up”.

However, he is now trying to keep an open mind as he does not want to prejudge the outcome of the report.

Mr Bentley said: “If the Gateway proves to be cost-effective as a temporary solution which allows us to do exciting work let’s do it, if not let’s do something else.”

Cllr Richard Short, culture portfolio holder with the new Cheshire West authority, said Chester should not rely on a performing arts centre being delivered speedily as a result of the stalled Northgate Development plans.