MORE trees are included in revised £3m plans for a cathedral square but concerns about removing the grass have been ignored.
A previous application by Cheshire West and Chester Council was withdrawn after residents complained about replacing the grass surrounding the war memorial with stone setts.
The council hopes its revised plans – aimed at creating one of the most impressive city squares in Europe – will appease critics but is pressing ahead with removing the grass.
However, Chester Civic Trust has already commented that the public square concept is ‘fatally undermined’ by having to accept current traffic and parking arrangements and fears ‘the memorial could look stranded in a rather sterile paved space’.
Several mature trees which did not feature in the original design are retained in the new scheme, including some outside the south transept, along Northgate Street and in front of Barclays Bank.
Elsewhere, new trees will be installed in planters in response to concerns from archaeologists about the impact of roots on buried remains.
Following comments from English Heritage, the updated design features Yorkstone rather than porphyry stone for the square surface, laid in a geometric design to echo the cathedral’s structure.
The project is a partnership between Chester Cathedral, Cheshire West and Chester Council and Chester Renaissance.
Cllr Herbert Manley, executive member for regeneration, said: “We have listened carefully to what the public have had to say and the architects have worked hard to incorporate these views into the revised scheme.
“While there have been some objections to changing the area surrounding the war memorial, we believe replacing the grass and railings with an attractive Yorkstone surface will create a spectacular piazza which truly reconnects the cathedral with the city centre.”
The cathedral is holding drop-in sessions in the undercroft for people wanting to find out more which take place on October 3, 11am- noon; October 6, 2pm-3pm, October 13, 10-11am and October 18, 11am-noon.
The revised scheme is expected to go before the council’s planning committee on November 15.