BUSINESSES in a city centre street are asking for help from the local authority to improve the area for shoppers.
Commonhall Street, located off Bridge Street, has an eclectic mix of shops including a deli and cafe, craft shop and gallery, restaurant, bar, nursery store and a hairdressers.
They are working together to promote each other’s businesses and have initiated talks with Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) to try to improve the area by installing lighting and levelling out the road surface.
The newest business in the street is The Pelican, formerly known as Got Wine.
Ben Little, who owns and runs the business with his wife Colleen, said: “We felt this venue suited us, as a lot of the newer premises lacked the character that The Pelican has.
“If you take time to walk around, this is a really lovely part of Chester despite the few buildings that are unloved. If the regeneration goes ahead, this will make it even better.”
Designer Nick Munro, whose clients include a host of international brands such as P&O and John Lewis, will soon be converting his existing Commonhall Street base into a retail outlet.
“The street is a very happening, exciting place right now – but there are a few issues that need to be addressed,” he said.
“The alleyway needs lights, the potholes need sorting out and the bollards should be removed to open it up. The original cobbles are bound to be there under the tarmac and it wouldn’t take much money to take care of these things, put a few trees in boxes, and they are all things that aren’t necessarily that expensive to do.”
Traders in the street have had a number of difficulties in the past 18 months, after landlord Commonhall Properties went into administration.
Other problems have led to shops including Keiko, Region Wine and Timothy Cracknell Hairdressing closing their doors.
But with three new businesses opening in the street this year and the promise of more to come with the opening of the Nick Munro store and a new restaurant, traders are determined to work together with CWaC to take an active part in improving and promoting what they see as a vibrant, up-and-coming community.
Sarah Maundrell of Along Came Baby, who opened the store in March this year, said the street is a friendly place to be.
“People say hello on their way past the shop and we have a really good relationship with other businesses here,” she said.
“There is a really nice atmosphere and it works very well for us as we have an online store and needed a showcase as opposed to a position right on the high street.
“But it would be really nice to have the road sorted out, the potholes make it difficult for people with prams to come down here.”
The Arc has been in Commonhall Street for 16 years. Co-owner Jan Arditti said: “We find that tourists and visitors really enjoy looking for something different and, once they have found us, come back again and again.
“There is also a sense of community here amongst the traders and we always recommend that people explore further down the street.”
Anne Blundell of Gastro Deli added: “We all compliment each other here, and try to promote each other’s businesses. “Once people come here, they love to shop here and they come back again.”
Nick Munro added: “Commonhall Street is a great place, the sort of little street that tourists are happy that they discovered.
“It could be like a cultural quarter, a creative quarter, filled with really special shops and places to eat and drink.
“All we need is a little bit of investment to breathe a bit of life into it.”