NEW guidelines must be brought in to prevent any more ‘ugly’ developments popping up in Chester, it is claimed.
Influential planning watchdog Chester Civic Trust wants Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) to put controls in place and draw up guidance to help protect the cityscape.
The resurrected Northgate Development, the Chester Central Business Quarter, canalside schemes in Boughton, plans to transform the Cathedral Quarter and the new theatre are contributing to the changing face of Chester.
While welcoming the investment and regeneration, the Trust believes many of the schemes are missed opportunities and do not reach the required standard.
Trust members have “considerable reservations” about the business quarter and cathedral schemes and branded the new five-storey building in Delamere Street a “monster”.
In the past the Trust has compared the Shot Tower redevelopment to a “prison” and described the former Travelodge hotel on the Fountain’s roundabout as “depressing”.
Andrew Pannell, who chairs the new works committee, said the Trust – which adheres to the maxim ‘preservation and progress’ – was facing an “uphill struggle”.
He said: “It seems from recent experience over the last year that the design and density of new buildings in Chester are increasingly being led by developers who are confident there is little appetite by the council to negotiate for a better quality scheme.
“The monster development emerging from the hole at Delamere Street is a stark example of this attitude.”
Chester Civic Trust was established in 1960 and now has more than 400 members. The Trust aims to protect and improve the historical setting of Chester and promote high standards of design.
Council spokesman Ian Callister said: “The council always seeks the highest standards in design for development within Chester particularly in the historic city centre.
“We value the Civic Trust’s comments but would point out that planning and development is very much a subjective issue.
“Decisions can only be taken within national and local planning policy."