OBJECTIONS have been made to proposals for a market on Chester's Groves riverside promenade.
The city council is seeking planning permission to allow outdoor markets at the busy tourist hotspot for a maximum of 26 days a year, equivalent to one a fortnight.
They would be held between Souters Lane and the Queens Park Bridge.
The city's Conservation Area Advisory Committee says it is “absolutely opposed” to the proposition of a market being held on The Groves due to the “radical alteration” it could bring to its character.
The committee is also concerned about the effect on established retailers within the city and suggests there should be a “rigorous analysis” of the impact of the proposed market.
Chester Civic Trust hopes the council will insist the market stalls are visually attractive and of a high quality to enhance the area.
Opposition has raised up by the Chester branch of the National Market Traders Federation, the National Market Traders Federation itself and a trader in the indoor market.
A number of open public meetings have been held to discuss the idea of markets being held on Town Hall Square and in Bridge Street as well as at The Groves according to planning officers.
Town Hall Square has had a temporary permission but councillors rejected the idea of a market in Bridge Street.
The market, they said, would fail to preserve the character and appearance of the conservation area due to “visual clutter and paraphernalia”.
At The Groves, planning officers believe there is “undoubtedly scope” for the proposed market to divert some visitors away from the main city centre, including Chester indoor market, but say a market could increase the number of pedestrians using Lower Bridge Street and Pepper Street.
Overall, as the market would only operate on a maximum of 26 days a year, this would limit its effect, they argue.
It would bring a more intensive activity to the relatively quiet, tourism focused area but would have the potential to increase the vitality of The Groves.
Councillors are due to hear that national planning policies support markets in town centres as they can make a “valuable contribution” to local choice and contribute to the vitality of town centres and the rural economy.
Councils are encouraged to reintroduce markets or create new ones.
Recommending the application should be approved, planning officers say they believe the proposed market would not cause unacceptable harm to retailing in the city centre and provided the appearance of the stalls is regulated by the city council there is no reason why it should not maintain ''or even enhance'' the cultural value, character and appearance of the conservation area.
They do not feel there would be any unacceptable effect on nearby properties including the Anchorite Cell.
The application is due to be considered at a meeting of the city's planning board on Wednesday (October 29) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at 10.30am.