WORK on the new-look Frodsham Street is finally complete and has been described by the council as an “attractive new gateway” to Chester city centre.
But not everyone is as complimentary with some residents blasting the finished product as “horrendous” and “cheap” on social media.
The yellow surfacing has come under fire with one man describing it as the “Yellow Mac Road” in a letter to the Leader.
Others have also expressed concerns over the lack of road markings on a street that appears to be pedestrianised but is also used by buses and bikes.
Sean Noble wrote on Facebook: “Is it just me or does the Frodsham Street makeover look terrible? The sandy coloured tarmac is horrendous and it looks like the cheapest bidder has been employed to lay it!”
Others agreed, with Maureen Joinson writing: “It looks ugly and already has dirty marks on it.”
And Will McNally added: “It looks tacky. The cheap sand coloured concrete looks really cheap and nasty.”
Started in June last year, the project was meant to take six months but overran considerably, to the dismay of traders on the street who claimed to be losing customers.
It is designed to complement the new £13.5 million bus interchange at Gorse Stacks, the construction of which was also delayed and is now due to open in June.
Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) has said the Frodsham Street makeover is part of a “significant investment programme” for Chester.
The road is now said to be a “shared space where priority is shared between pedestrians, cyclists and motorists”.
The transformation has created “attractive shared ‘social’ areas to reduce the dominance of vehicles and make the street more people-friendly”, the authority says.
Professional artist Katayoun Dowlatshahi has designed a series of unique bollards for the space, inspired by Chester’s architecture.
The designs incorporate and highlight architectural features found on Frodsham Street and across the city, “encouraging visitors and residents to take time to appreciate the history of the city and the environment around Frodsham Street”, CWaC says.
Several feature bollards are positioned at key gateways to the walls, cathedral and canal.
“These recognise the prominent role Frodsham Street has in the history of the city and incorporate photographs of the cathedral ceiling and Shropshire Union Canal,” the council said in a press release.
“In the development of the artwork, Katayoun researched the local history of Frodsham Street and was keen to learn what local people and traders thought. She led a number of community events including an archaeologist walk and talk and a pub quiz about Frodsham Street.”
CWaC’s director of place operations, Maria Byrne, added: “The transformation of Frodsham Street has created a new fitting gateway to the city. Katayoun’s artwork looks wonderful; the links she has created with surrounding architecture and Chester landmarks are really effective.
“Supplier problems resulted in the project taking longer than expected to complete, but I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the bus companies, shops and stall holders affected by these works for their patience and support.”
City Rail Link buses have started to use Frodsham Street, with other services potentially coming back in early May.
When the new Chester Bus Interchange opens in June, the remaining bus services will return.
The council statement added: “The Frodsham Street improvements are part of a commitment by the council to invest in Chester. Further investment in the public realm including Gorse Stacks are among the projects planned and under construction to improve the city and encourage private sector investment.”
See full story in the Chester Leader