CHESTER'S new £37 million theatre, cinema and library complex has bagged an impressive five awards in just a month.

Architects Bennetts Associates, who designed Storyhouse, scooped Best Refurbishment at the national Building Awards – the longest running and most prestigious awards in the industry.

Storyhouse was also crowned Best Public Building at the Brick awards, plus IS Group won Best Sign for Storyhouse’s iconic led illuminated lettering.

At the annual Marketing Cheshire Awards the cultural centre won Large Visitor Attraction of the Year, fending off competition from Chester Zoo and The Ice Cream Farm.

Finally, at the FX Awards it won Leisure or Entertainment Venue’

Andrew Bentley, CEO Storyhouse said: “We are enormously proud to have won such a prestigious set of awards. They are testament to all that we have achieved at Storyhouse in the last six months.

“We won each award in front of impressive shortlists including internationally-renowned and celebrated companies. These awards recognise all our efforts to build community, enhance the lives of residents and put Chester on a world stage – we are thrilled!”

Storyhouse has proved a huge success since it opened in May with more than double the expected number of people passing through its doors.

Bosses had hoped for 350,000 in the first year – but latest figures show a staggering 508,000 have already paid a visit.

City of Chester MP Chris Matheson previously congratulated those behind the project, which some experts say could be worth £16 million a year to the city’s economy.

He told the Leader: “What these figures show is that when people in Chester put their mind to it, they can create something that everyone wants to be part of.

“Well done Andrew Bentley, Alex Clifton [artistic director] and all the team at Storyhouse – Chester is well and truly back on the map.”