Work which will help pave the way for Chester’s Northgate development is to get under way from next week.

Archaeologists will be on-site from Monday, February 19 to explore a small series of trial pits which are being dug to find out more about what lies underground. 

The work – which should take no more than five to seven days – will take place at Hamilton Place by Dial House and Trinity Street by Hamilton House from February 19-23, before moving to Princess Street from February 26-March 8. 

Positions have been ‘carefully picked’ to minimise the impact on the public and surrounding areas, a Cheshire West and Chester Council spokesman said.

Traffic management will be in place to protect members of the public and the workforce.

Councillor Brian Clarke, CWaC cabinet member for economic development and infrastructure, said: “We don’t expect any disruption for drivers, pedestrians or businesses. The trial holes in Princess Street will require diversions for drivers along Hunter Street and could take up to two weeks. 

"During this time the Shopper Hopper Service will drop off and pick up at the old bus stand 13 on Princess Street, next to the taxi rank.”

The trial pits – which will help determine the geology and water table of the site – follow on from ground investigation work which began at seven locations across the city in November. 

The £300m Chester Northgate scheme will transform the northwest corner of the city with a new market hall, housing, shops, a multi-screen cinema, cafes, bars and restaurants, new hotel and parking for 800 cars, creating more than 1,000 new jobs.

A public inquiry into aspects of the retail development ended this week – at least a week ahead of schedule.