AMBITIOUS proposals for a £10 million facelift have been unveiled for Chester Railway Station and its surrounding area.
Consultants have been drawing up two options to enhance the site's strategic importance, heritage and also improve facilities for passengers using connecting trains, buses and taxis.
Local people and organisations will be asked for their views and once the public consultation is complete by the end of April, the partners involved in the project will then decide the way forward.
The 75-page document has been discussed by the main six partners - Cheshire County Council, Chester City Council, the Northwest Development Agency (NWDA), Network Rail, Arriva Trains Wales and the Railway Heritage Trust.
The proposals include revamping the Railway Station's entrance so that it is more welcoming and inviting to passengers and updating areas for buses, taxis and cars immediately outside the premises.
Inside the station there are proposals for new ticketing facilities, toilets and the main bridge linking platforms would have a glass roof. There would also be more retail and catering opportunities.
The study was financed by Cheshire County Council, the Northwest Development Agency and Chester City Council.
'We would like to thank residents, passengers and all the organisations who have helped shape the impressive blueprint before us,' said Environment Executive member Andrew Needham.
'This I am sure would increase the vibrancy of such an important gateway to Chester, Cheshire, the North West and North Wales.
'Public consultation will now take place so that we can plan for the next move forward.'
Chester City Council leader, Councillor David Evans, said: 'First impressions count. For many people, the railway station and its surroundings are their first impression of Chester. At the moment it is not a good one.
'These proposals provide the impetus for a much-needed transformation of the area, which can only be achieved by all the organisations involved working together.'
Chris Koral, NWDA area manager for Cheshire, said: 'I am delighted that the NWDA has been able to contribute to this important study, which will pave the way for welcomed improvements to Chester Railway Station.
'This is a significant gateway into Cheshire and England's North West and it is essential that it projects a positive image to visitors, and provides the best possible service to the local community.
'I am confident that working together with partners, we can facilitate the station's transformation.'
Tim Clarke, Network Rail regional director, welcomed the proposals saying: 'Chester station is one of the main gateways to this vibrant and strategically important city, which is stepped in history and visited by thousands of tourists from throughout the world.
'It's a free bus service from the station to the main shopping area attracts people from near and far so it is only right that the area should reflect this importance.
'Network Rail looks forward to working with the partners to the scheme to deliver a station the city can be justly proud of.'
A copy of the document can be found on www.cheshire.gov.uk/chesterrailgateway