Back by popular demand is a city centre car park which closed in January only to reopen at the weekend but for a limited period only.

Linenhall car park closed on January 10 to make way for construction work to begin on a massive 550-bed student complex at the site.

But London-based developers Stephenson Development (Southern) Holdings Ltd, who are working in partnership with the Chester Race Company landowners, won’t now be starting work for ‘a couple of months’.

Related story: Linenhall car park closure: Is parking in Chester getting 'beyond a joke'?

Race company spokesman Chris Clayton said: “Initially we thought construction work would start in the spring but there has been a slight delay. Rather than leave the car park empty and closed it was agreed with the Stephenson Group that it could reopen for a couple of months.”

Linenhall car park shut on January 10 but is now back for a limited period only

He stressed the option of reopening the car park permanently was not on the agenda. It would only reopen for eight to 10 weeks. And Mr Clayton said archaeological investigations would continue during the temporary reopening meaning small sections may be closed off any one time.

The car park has reopened on the same basis as before with a daily rate of £5 but the facility is free after 2pm Monday to Saturday and free all day on a Sunday.

Related story: Work to begin on massive student scheme in Chester city centre

The Linenhall car park development will comprise 143 studio flats and 59 shared living apartments. It is due be completed for the start of the 2017 university academic year.

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Originally part of the Roman baths complex, the site later formed part of the Franciscan Greyfriars monastery. The Chronicle understands remains of walls from the cloisters of the monastery have already been discovered by archaeologists.

Related story: Chester student site undergoes archaeological investigation

In the 18th century, the site became home to the city’s Linen Hall. This was built in 1778 by Irish linen merchants as a depot containing many shops in a spacious area from which their cloth was distributed by wagon and pack horse throughout the country.

After the linen trade declined, the building functioned as a cheese store and market, trading in the world-renowned Cheshire cheese. It was said to have been a sleepy and quiet place except during the Cheese Fairs, when in a few hours thousands of pounds could change hands.

Archaeologists have begun working at the Linenhall car park site ahead of construction starting on the student accommodation scheme.