PLANS have been submitted to Cheshire West and Chester Council to demolish the former Lloyds Banking Group buildings in Handbridge and build 30 homes.
The Capital House and Bridge House buildings on Queen’s Park Road have been vacant since Lloyds moved its operations away from the site to other locations around Chester in March, 2010.
Redrow Homes (NW) is now hoping to develop the site, of which Lloyds continues to own the freehold, with the initial planning application detailing the demolition of all buildings and structures, including walls and gate piers which will be rebuilt, infilling preservation of underground bunkers and redevelopment of the site for the creation of 18 detached houses and 12 apartments with associated means of access, parking, servicing and landscaping provision.
Handbridge Park councillor, Neil Sullivan, said: “I am supportive of the idea to erect the relatively small number of residential properties.
“The site, when it was in its former use, caused a nuisance in terms of traffic volume for residents of Handbridge and Queen’s Park Road in particular and I think that the development of residential properties would ensure that the volume of traffic is kept to a minimum.
“As long as any development of the site enhances the appearance of the site from both sides of the river, I am in favour of a development.
“It would certainly be a better alternative than leaving the buildings empty and falling into disrepair, as has been the case.”
Plans for the development of the site, which was once the Western Command HQ for the British Army during the Second World War, have not been universally welcomed by Hanbridge residents.
Reg Barritt, from Handbridge Residents Council (HaRC), said: “Handbridge Residents Council strongly objects to plans by Redrow to redevelop the Lloyds Bank complex at the Western Command site as a luxury housing estate.
“The planned redevelopment is completely at odds with the real development needs of Handbridge.
“HaRC believes ordinary locals, other than some residents in Queens Park who live close to the site and for whom this is a comfortable option, have nothing to gain from this proposal and much to lose.
“A better use for the Lloyds Bank location would be for a student facility to accommodate the inevitable growth of the University of Chester which will relieve long-term pressure on the established surrounding residential area.”
A Redrow Homes (NW) spokesman said: “This is an outstanding location for what we hope will be an exceptional development of new homes.
“We have worked with the local authority and local residents to create a proposal that provides a good mix of houses and apartments.
“Our credentials for a scheme of this type are strong as we have previously created a number of high-end new homes developments across the UK.”
The deadline for the standard consultation period expires on November 13 while the determination deadline for the plans has been set at January 4, 2013.
See full story in the Chester Leader