AN ugly duckling building in the heart of Chester is to be demolished and replaced with a swish new accommodation complex.

The former Quicks garage in Lower Bridge Street has long been regarded as a blot on the streetscape but within two years the whole site could be transformed into one of the most desirable residential locations in the city centre.

Developers Bridgemere, an offshoot of Redrow, plans to demolish the five-storey former garage and replace it with a chic complex of 43 one and two-bedroomed apartments together with five town houses.

The stylish complex includes parking within the main building for each of the homes together with a beautiful landscaped large inner courtyard for the benefit of its residents.

The site in Lower Bridge Street, Chester

The five town houses will also have their own off-street parking.

The scheme was exclusively unveiled at the Bridgegate East Residents Association annual meeting on Wednesday.

Around 60 members, who all live in that neighbourhood, gave the plans a very positive welcome, several describing the designs as "fantastic" and "superb".

Residents heard the planning application for the project is expected to be submitted in later this month and the whole demolition and rebuild could be completed within 18 months to two years.

The former Quicks building has been empty for a number of years and is widely regarded as an ugly monstrosity which should never have been built within the Walls in the historic city centre.

The architect of the new development has deliberately 'stepped' the apartments and penthouses down the hill of Lower Bridge Street to give it a natural look.

BERA residents were also told the facade of the buildings would be in local brick and sandstone in keeping with the neighbourhood and that a covered stretch of the building over the footpath would be part of the design of the new building.

BERA chairman Mike Hogg said the demolition and rebuild would inevitably cause some disruption but felt the end result would be more than worth it.