New Chester Rows Business Guide launched

Businesses on Chester’s historic Rows, including members of the Rows Collective have started to receive a copy of a new Business Guide to operating on the Rows, developed by Chester Business Improvement District (Chester BID) as part of the Chester Rows High Street Heritage Action Zone.

The new guide, developed by Chester BID contains a wealth of practical information on trading from al-fresco licensing rules, how to use stallboards, right through to fire protection, waste management and how to report maintenance issues in the public spaces.

In the introduction to the Chester Rows Business Guide, Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council says, “We recognise that working in such a unique environment can bring rules which may be confusing, and it may not be immediately clear where to get help.

“We were therefore really pleased to support Chester BID with the production of this Business Guide and hope that businesses feel it will enable them to better understand their role as ‘historic guardians’ and provide the guidance to let them thrive and prosper for many years to come.”

Chester BID Manager, Carl Critchlow said, “The Rows are a historical asset unique to Chester and have hosted businesses for hundreds of years, and as such they form a key part of the heritage appeal that is vital to our city centre economy. This guide will give businesses the information they need to operate on the rows and remain a vibrant hub of business activity for years to come.” 

The historic Chester Rows were built on Roman foundations, with the earliest existing shop dating from 1274. With over 100 Listed Buildings still remaining, they are a unique living and working environment that have evolved and been added to with every century. Today the Rows host over 200 shops, including many independent traders and eateries, together with hotels, offices and community spaces who chose to continue this legacy in the heart of Chester.

Chester Rows Heritage Action Zone, is a four-year programme running until March 2024, with £1.08m funding from Historic England which formed part of a broader government-backed scheme to support 67 High Streets across England.

Complimented with funding and in-kind support from the Cheshire West and Chester Council, Chester BID, Marketing Cheshire, the University of Chester, Chester Civic Society, as well as Grosvenor Estates and other private sector partners, the principal objectives were to increase awareness of the historical importance of the Rows, undertake refurbishment of heritage features and encourage footfall to support traders and the jobs they provide.

Historic England’s Pippa Brown said, “Historic England has worked closely with Cheshire West and Chester Council and their partners to help secure a positive long-term future for our historic high streets.  This new guide will help existing businesses and would-be traders understand how they operate successfully here.” 

Chester city centre’s visitor economy is worth £1.13 billion per annum and supports over 20,000 jobs including those in the supply chain. The heritage appeal of the city centre is a key driver of footfall which helps retain business occupation.

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