PUBLIC consultation begins on Monday on a vision document and development framework to create aŠcentral business quarter for Chester.
This is the firstŠstage of a £1bn CWaC and Chester Renaissance project that could create thousands of jobs.
The vision will set the overall picture for the transformation of the area east of the city centreŠbeyond the City Walls.
And the draft framework defines in further detail the development based around the railway station.
The new business quarter will provide Chester with the opportunity to integrate world class solutions into a historic city ŠŠ– overcoming physical constraints, conserving sensitive assets and promoting sustainable growth.
It will aim to incorporate restoration and new-development to provide a variety of accommodation ranging from large corporations and headquarters to starter units and small and medium enterprises.
The proposed scheme will focus on low energy consumption, recycling and conservation techniques. Social, economic and environmental sustainability will be key principles in its design.
All will be set within new high quality planned public spaces – greens, plazas, squares gardens and activity parks, with a wide range of amenities.
Continuous walk ways and paths will link the business quarter to the historic centre and other parts of the city encouraging sustainable transportation alternatives to private car use.
The provision of convenient public transports from the centre of the business district to the larger city region would help it become a more attractive place to work.
The public consultation process will involve meetings with stakeholders and residents; a four-week long exhibition at Chester Railway Station opening May 11 and hundreds of letters to local business and residents outlining the aims of the scheme and providing website links to the draft development framework.
Regeneration director Charlie Seward said: “The NWDA identification of this area as a Strategic Employment Site provides us with a wonderful opportunity to create a development which will greatly benefit Chester, but also the Cheshire and Warrington sub region and the whole of the North West.
“There has been significant interest from the local business community and major regional and national investors.”
Mr Seward added: “We believe that the area is a natural location for a business district, being served by the railway station with its hourly links to London and Crewe and easily accessible motorway complex.”
Working with the Cheshire West and Chester Council and Chester Renaissance on the development framework study will be a team of consultants led by Manchester – based planning and development specialists, GVA Grimley and including London architects RHWL.
Chief executive of Chester Renaissance Rita Waters said: “This development will secure the future of Chester for generations to come, providing new quality employment opportunities and securing inward investment into the heart of our city.”
Lead consultant Iain Jenkinson of GVA Grimley added: “This is a unique opportunity to deliver a major step change in Chester’s in-centre commercial offer, as part of a truly integrated and sustainable solution.
“In a ‘flat’ development market, we are helping to bring together the key ingredients that will hopefully see construction commence in the near term”
The framework should be complete by July, when members of the executive will be asked to endorse the final version, which will include the results of the public consultation.