CHESTER'S much-loved Storyhouse is in the running for a national award.

Storyhouse, which has surpassed all expectations since it opened to the public in May 2017, has been shortlisted for recognition for the

Civic Voice Design Awards 2018.

The cultural venue off Northgate Street, which attracted a million visitors in its first year, was visited recently by the Queen and the Duchess of Sussex.

It is being challenged for the top spot in the Historic Buildings category by four rivals including fellow Roman city York.

All shortlisted schemes can be viewed on the Civic Voice Design Award website.

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The Historic Buildings category celebrates historic buildings that have been re-used, retro-fitted or refurbished

Storyhouse is described by the competition organisers as "Chester’s brand new £37 million library, theatre, cinema and cultural centre carved from a beloved art deco Grade II listed Odeon cinema".

Rivals for the coveted award are the Theatre Royal in York, Thames Lido in Reading, Winchester College Treasury in Winchester, Turner's House and Sandycome Lodge in Twickenham.

In total Civic Voice, the national charity for the civic movement, has announced an overall shortlist of a dozen schemes across England which have been assessed by an expert judging panel for their high quality design and positive impact on the community.

The awards give communities the opportunity to nominate and celebrate well-designed new build, housing, heritage and public realm projects in their local area, that they are proud of.

The judging panel has shortlisted the schemes in four categories:

• New Build

• Historic Buildings

• Housing

• Public Realm.

The awards are sponsored by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners and Farrells.

Max Farrell said he was "thrilled" to chair the Civic Voice Design Awards once again. "They align so well with the recommendations of the Farrell Review of Architecture and the Built Environment published in 2014," he said.

"It is great to hear about the community participation and engagement behind the nominated projects and to see high quality design and construction enhancing the local historic built environment.”

Christine Russell, who now chairs Chester Civic Trust, has said Storyhouse is the “greatest thing that has happened” in the 44 years she has lived in Chester.

She described the city centre arts facility as an “inspirational investment” by Cheshire West and Chester Council and a “brilliant example of a great partnership” between a local authority and other supporting organisations.

Mrs Russell, who chaired the city council planning committee for many years before she became MP for 13 years, made her comments at the Chester Civic Trust New Year Honours 2018 awards ceremony.

The partnership involved in the construction of Storyhouse in Chester, including Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Building Consultancy team, Kier Construction and Ellis Williams Architects, earned regional recognition for Storyhouse won the ‘Best change of use of an existing building or conversion’ category in the North West Local Authority Building Control (LABC) Building Excellence Awards.

The awards ceremony, where the winners of each category will be announced, will be held at The Leadenhall Building 'The Cheesegrater' in London on Thursday, July 12.