Approval granted for Chester car park retail and leisure development

Plans to turn the top two decks of a Chester multi-storey car park into a retail and leisure hub look to have cleared their final hurdle.

Last September Cheshire West and Chester planning chiefs approved an application by Grosvenor and iKO Events Ltd to transform the top two levels of the NCP car park on Pepper Street into a new retail and leisure destination.

The scheme was designed to include four re-purposed shipping containers for housing food and drink stalls, as well as three shipping containers to provide hygiene facilities and storage. Covered units described as ‘cabanas’ were also set to be put in place.

The venue was also intended to have a ‘pop up’ event element, so could host a range of attractions ranging from from silent cinemas, craft fairs, yoga, family-friendly games, fitness and well-being activities.

But project chiefs made two amendments to the approved scheme, which required the application to be re-submitted in March.

The first amendment was for the addition of a retractable roof structure over the seating area, to allow the hub to operate in a wider range of weather conditions. The other change was the relocation of ground-level staff cycle parking.

The new application with these amendments has now been approved, with the approval decision being published online this week.

As part of the project, total of 69 car parking spaces will be lost from the top two levels of the car park, with a further four axed on the level below. Car parking provision will be reduced from 273 spaces to 200 on the remaining levels to provide parking for the venue.

The venue’s planned opening hours will be 8am-10pm for a maximum capacity of 300 people. A total of 20 full-time and 30 part-time jobs will also be created according to the applicant.

The scheme had proven controversial in some quarters, with concerns raised over noise and loss of parking by former ward councillor Martyn Delaney.

A total of 20 objections had been received from the public, including from the Almhouses of William Jones Charity and the Bridgegate East Residents Association (BERA). A petition signed by 209 people opposing the scheme was also submitted.

And although the first application approved in September was initially made to cover a period five years, planning officers reduced that to three to monitor the development in light of the received objections.

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