CHESTER’S core pedestrianised area could be extended to complement the new theatre, library and cinema complex and proposed Northgate development.
Artist’s impressions of how the city centre could be transformed have been revealed and the dramatic changes could be brought in if council members endorse a new city-wide transport strategy.
The proposal would see Northgate Street, St Werburgh Street and Hunter Street closed to traffic between 10.30am and 4.30pm while public realm improvements would make the area more pedestrian-friendly and enhance its appearance.
It is one of a series of recommendations under the proposed Chester Transport Strategy which Cheshire West and Chester Council’s executive will be asked to adopt when it meets next Wednesday.
The blueprint – designed to support the city’s growth and development – aims to provide a more joined-up approach to dealing with current and future transport issues.
The recommendations have been shaped following in-depth consultation with residents and businesses.
Other flagship proposals include:
o A new bus interchange at Gorse Stacks as part of a wider bus strategy to include the introduction of a ‘shopper hopper’ shuttle bus between the new interchange and other parts of the city centre
o A shared-space environment on Little St John Street to improve pedestrian links between the city centre and the Amphitheatre, Roman Gardens, St John’s Church and The Groves
o A member-led review of Park and Ride to agree improvements including cross-town routing and the introduction of intermediate stops that can be incorporated into a new Park and Ride contract in 2016
o Investigating the feasibility of providing a dedicated pedestrian and cycle bridge sited parallel to the Hoole Road railway bridge
o Introducing junction improvement schemes to reduce congestion and pinch-point problems
o Examining the case for the proposed Chester Western Relief Road including consideration of alternative routes.
Cllr Herbert Manley, executive member for growth and innovation, said: “I would like to thank everyone who contributed their views and helped to inform our final proposals.
“The transport strategy is a key document for Chester’s future. It will help us to develop a robust and reliable transport network that is capable of supporting a dynamic local economy offering real opportunity for all.
“The strategy will also provide a basis to secure funding opportunities to deliver a number of its key recommendations.”
Produced by the council in partnership with Chester Renaissance, the strategy aims to support the delivery of key objectives to boost the city’s future prosperity.
These including improving opportunities for pedestrians and cyclists, enhancing the appearance of the city centre and providing access to new developments such as the theatre, library and cinema; Northgate development and Central Business Quarter.
Eric Langton, chairman of Chester Renaissance, said: “The transport strategy has benefited from many discussions with members of the public and is a vital part of the One City Plan’s development ambitions.
“It will improve public transport access and deal with issues created by the historic fabric of our wonderful city.
“The transport strategy is another big step in the transformation of Chester into a regional centre of retail excellence, business innovation, cultural opportunities and will enhance the quality of life for us all.”
The report to the executive also outlines a proposed timescale for bringing forward new transport strategies in other areas of the borough.
It recommends a strategy is commissioned for Winsford during 2014-15, the Northwich study is updated during 2016 and work is undertaken in Ellesmere Port during 2017-18.
The full recommendations report plus consultation report and other supporting material can be accessed on the Council’s website www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk
See full story in the Chester Leader