Liverpool

Chester Northgate development to be led by council

The redevelopment of part of Chester city centre will now be handled by the council, after it cut ties with the firm chosen to work on the project.

The £460m regeneration of the Northgate shopping area was to be handled by ING Real Estate Developers.

The firm struck a deal with the former Chester City Council in 2000, but plans were put on hold for financial reasons.

Councillors voted to end the agreement at a meeting on Wednesday and work on the project themselves.

ING said it would now progress with plans to redevelop land it already owns, including the central Forum shopping centre.

The company said it was surprised and disappointed with the council's decision, which was difficult to understand.

'Vibrancy'

Cheshire West and Chester Council said the project was unlikely to move forward unless action was taken.

Herbert Manley, executive member for prosperity, said: "The council remains unequivocally committed to the scheme but has sadly concluded that there is little likelihood of progress under the current arrangement.

"Consequently, the authority will shortly announce its own concept for the crucial redevelopment of this area of the city."

He said any new plans drawn up would complement the historic part of the city.

He added: "We need to make sure that we make progress on this scheme to bring the vibrancy back to the city of Chester.

"We will be bringing our own thoughts forward in the very near future and talking to all the landowners and partners to see how we can bring a positive scheme to Northgate in Chester."

The council said Chester was losing visitors to shopping areas such as Liverpool One and out-of-town shopping centres.

The Northgate project was once described by planners as the most ambitious redevelopment in Chester city centre for decades.

Work planned for the area included building a new House of Fraser store, market hall and 60 shops between Town Hall Square and Northgate Street.

A new three-auditorium theatre, improved library, new homes and secure parking were also planned.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites