AN ARCHITECTURAL watchdog has given a lukewarm response to revised plans aimed at creating a cathedral square in Chester.
A previous application by Cheshire West and Chester Council was withdrawn after residents expressed concern at replacing the grass surrounding the war memorial with setts.
Chester Civic Trust has seen the amended scheme, which it describes as ‘improved’, but says the concept of a public square is ‘fatally undermined’ by having to accept current traffic and parking arrangements.
John Herson, chairman of the Civic Trust’s new works committee, writing in the August newsletter, added that the issue over the war memorial remains unresolved.
He wrote: “We still think it may be vulnerable to disrespectful behaviour and might ultimately have to be protected.
“The memorial could look stranded in a rather sterile paved space. The new plan proposes an out-of-character ‘post fence’ along the path towards the Kaleyards wall area.
“A cheaper, more aesthetic and more straightforward solution would be to use the existing railings when they are removed from St Werburgh Street.”
The Civic Trust welcomes making the Bell Tower a focal point, with visitor facilities and al fresco refreshments.
But it disagrees with blocking off the ‘natural pedestrian’ route through this area from the Eastgate via the City Walls which could create an anti-social backwater after dark.
The Trust says the route should be retained to complement a new path to the Kaleyards.
Proposals for the War Memorial garden are said to be ‘generally reasonable’ but the Trust is unconvinced by the use of ‘bound gravel’.
The Trust has sent its comments to the Cathedrals Fabric Commission. A planning application is expected soon.