A great place to do business
Thriving economy outcome: A great place to do business
Ellesmere Port Master plan
We adopted the Ellesmere Port Master plan in February as the town centre development vision for the next 15 years, including investment in roads and parking, improved culture and leisure, enhanced market facilities, better access to public services and a reduction in the number of shop buildings. Consultation was carried out during a six-week period between October and November 2018. As part of the master plan, designs have been submitted for a Public Sector Hub and a new bus zone. Subject to planning consent, the hub is due to open in 2021. It will be home to public services including community safety and crime prevention, housing support, employment, skills and learning guidance, welfare and benefits support and health and wellbeing. The aim is for these services to work together more effectively for residents. The masterplan also includes a phased approach to restore and transform Whitby Hall, home of Action Transport Theatre, into a world class centre for children, young people and their families.
Consultation on the first phase of the Chester Northgate development took place with businesses, community groups and the public. Plans for the first phase of the city centre development include a six-screen Picturehouse cinema, restaurants around a public square, a new indoor market and a multi-storey car park. Outline plans and images were seen by more than 1,000 people during an exhibition in the Forum Shopping Centre. Our Northgate team recorded more than 800 comments in discussions with local groups and businesses. The final planning application for this phase reflected many alterations to the designs from the consultation. If planning approval is granted, work on essential services to support the development will start early in 2020.
Chester Indoor Market welcomed its one-millionth customer in December since footfall counters were installed at the end of 2017. The market was also a finalist in Britain’s best market competition, as voted for by shoppers. Recent developments include working with Chester Zoo to become a palm oil free market and the introduction of late night opening on Foodie Friday nights.
In the past year we have welcomed H&M, The Entertainer, Sports Direct and Card Factory as tenants in Barons Quay, in Northwich, as well as exchanging contracts with Barons Quay Social - a new food, drink and entertainment venue. Advanced talks are underway with several potential tenants who are interested in taking space within the scheme. Since its completion in 2017, our investment in Barons Quay has, and continues to be, a long-term commitment to the future of the town. We are working with Northwich Town Council, Northwich Business Improvement District (BID), traders and other groups to make Northwich a thriving retail and leisure destination.
We worked alongside the Canal and River Trust to install two new mooring pontoons at Barons Quay in a £175,000 project funded by the Council. They have been constructed on the River Weaver, by the Odeon Cinema, in a joint project to encourage visiting boaters to stay in the heart of the development. The pontoons are 92 metres long and provide mooring space for up to four boats.
The Council has a significant commercial property portfolio and, in 2018-19, we were able to deliver new projects at Northern Lights and Poole Hall Business Parks, in Ellesmere Port, the refurbishment of the Guildhall, in Chester, and the creation of new build industrial units at Dutton’s Business Centre, in Northwich, Road 2 Business Park, in Winsford, and Dee View, in Chester, for use by small and medium sized enterprises. This development was part funded through the Property Reinvestment Programme (PRP) and aided by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Existing stock was assessed, under achieving assets were disposed of, existing premises were refurbished and new units were constructed.