Vinci starts £70m Chester scheme after 20 years of false starts

Aaron Morby 4 years ago
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After two decades of planning, delays and false starts, Vinci is finally starting main building work on the £70m first phase of the Northgate scheme in Chester city centre.

And in the end, it was the coronavirus pandemic, which helped to get the scheme over the starting line amid fears for the future of retailing.

Socially distanced sod-cutting marks the official start to main building works

The local council has agreed to continue with funding gambling that the retail and leisure scheme will become a catalyst for post-Covid-19 recovery, creating jobs and driving economic growth.

Part of Chester’s One City Plan, Chester Northgate is set to open in early 2022.

Planned Chester market and six-screen cinema

The scheme will include an arched arcade from the former library frontage into a new public square, an indoor market hall – relocated from the Forum, a six-screen cinema, cafes and restaurants, co-working office spaces and a multi-storey car park to replace the Market car park which will close once Northgate is completed.

Old library building frontage will provide the entrance to a new shopping arcade

Garry Bowker, northwest regional director for Vinci Construction UK, said: “Despite the challenges of working during this pandemic, we are doing all we can to ensure our staff, contractors and suppliers can work efficiently and safely; we are extremely excited about starting on site and seeing the Northgate scheme come to fruition so that we can play our part in helping to boost the local economy.”

Councillor Stuart Parker, Conservative group committee member of the Northgate Members Working Group, said: “Having seen a number of proposed schemes for Northgate come and go over the past 20 years, it is especially pleasing to see work at last starting. The scheme has cross-party support due to the crucial role Northgate can play in our post Covid-19 recovery.”

New multi-storey car park includes living green wall panels, to reduce the visual scale of the building.

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