Plans for FIVE MORE restaurants at Chester's buoyant dining district

Reporter:

Steve Creswell

A second phase in Chester’s Dining Quarter can be revealed after plans were lodged to add an extra five restaurants to the Pepper Street hub. 

The south side of the road already boasts four recently-opened restaurants: Las Iguanas, Chimichanga, Coast to Coast and now Opera Grill.

It has now emerged that developers Bride Hall Real Estate Partners and HIG Property Chester have lodged an application to add five more eateries to the Grosvenor Shopping Centre over the road.

Together with the adjacent Blackhouse Grill, Zizis and The Church Bar and Restaurant, the Dining Quarter area could boast as many as 12 restaurants.

An artist’s impressions drawn up by London-based HFM Architects show a line of restaurants with open air roof terraces overlooking Pepper Street. 

It is thought that national chains would be the occupiers of the new units, based in the Pepper House section of the shopping centre. Businesses currently occupying the shops along the facade could face eviction. 

A ‘design and access statement’ on the proposals, submitted to Cheshire West and Chester Council, states that the retail units and office space at the proposed site are mostly empty and rarely used.

“This proposal would make better use of this existing floor space and represents a viable longer-term solution that will provide job opportunities and increase activity levels in this part of the city, thereby contributing to the local economy and social wellbeing of Chester,” it states. 

In a statement on their website, HFM Architects added: “The five new restaurants will be in addition to the four we recently completed opposite this development and, together with the adjacent Blackhouse Grill, Zizis and The Church Bar and Restaurant, they will establish the Pepper Street Dining Quarter as the premier daytime and evening leisure destination in Chester.” 

The architects have described Pepper House in less than flattering terms, labelling it as a “brutalist 1970s concrete office and retail building in the historic heart of Chester”. It is proposed that the “ugly” facade will be transformed with bronze cladding.

The company states: “Our scheme for Bride Hall Real Estate Partners on behalf of HIG Property Chester proposes to convert the ground and first floor into five new shell units to be let to leading national restaurant operators.

“Overcladding the concrete panels with bronze coloured metal portals and inserting a combination of full height glazing and glass balustrades, will transform the building. Terraces will be formed at first floor level to provide al fresco dining above the level of the traffic on Pepper Street. 

“The entrance to the shopping centre will be picked out with full height cladding and feature 3D gold-coloured panels.”

An application to change the use from office and retail space to restaurants has been lodged with the council and a planning committee will discuss the plans at a future meeting.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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