WORK has started on a £75m development next to Chester Racecourse which will bring new homes, offices, restaurants and stables across two sites.
David McLean Developments has begun preparing the Old Port plot on the former gas works to create five apartment blocks, varying in height between three and five storeys.
There will be a total of 196 apartments, 76 of which will be allocated for affordable housing.
The five-acre site will feature a number of commercial units and an extensive horse-stabling complex with 138 stables, parking space for the horse-boxes and a safe walkway for the horses through the arches to the racecourse.
The previous stables at Linenhall were unsafe because the racehorses had to cross busy New Crane Street to get to the racecourse. The old stables will eventually be demolished to make way for more apartments.
The scheme will also regenerate redundant railway arches by converting them into private viewing galleries for the racecourse.
A key feature is the building of a riverside footpath and cycle track from the Old Port to the Roodee, forming an important section of the River Dee path that will run from The Groves to Flint.
The development is the next phase in Chester Racecourse's long-term master-plan. The first phase was the building of the Express by Holiday Inn Hotel, which is owned by Chester Race Company.
Twenty-five per cent of total housing across the two city-centre sites but concentrated in the Old Port plot will be sold on a 'affordable' basis.
Chris Clayton of Chester Race Company said nothing should be read into the fact the Linenhall housing would only be sold on the open market.
'This will deliver affordable housing earlier for people on the housing register than it would have done,' he said. Mr Clayton said the race company had been trying to locate the stables closer to the course for 25 years. 'It's dangerous taking the horses through the streets,' he said.
'I think the Old Port and Linenhall will give McLeans two housing sites and that's created value.'
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