COUNCIL chiefs look set to rubber-stamp a major regeneration project for a Chester neighbourhood.

But a report warned residents’ expectations will need to be ‘managed’, as full funding still needs to be sourced to make each scheme a reality.

Cheshire West and Chester’s ruling cabinet meets next week where it is recommended to approve the Lache Action Plan. Lache is a housing estate in the city of Chester with a population of around 10,000 and work has been ongoing to try and regenerate the area.

The scheme consists of four component projects, which are:

Lache Park (Sycamore Drive) – investment in new children’s play equipment, including inclusive play, to support improved facilities for children.

Backies/LAPA Field – proposal to improve an eight hectare former landfill area for wildlife and residents to enjoy as a green space amenity.

Lache Community Centre – proposal to refurbish the existing building to improve facilities for local residents and help improve its financial and environmental sustainability.

Traffic/road improvements on Hawthorn Road and Poplar Place – consider options to better manage traffic, making it safer to walk or cycle, and improving the way the area looks and feels.

According to official figures, 30 per cent of the houses in Lache are socially rented, with 19 per cent of residents claiming housing benefit. A total of 30 per cent of pupils are eligible for free school meals, and 29 per cent have special educational needs. Approximately 69 per cent of households are classed as deprived on at least one measure of employment, education, health and disability or household overcrowding.

The development of the Lache Action Plan was done in response to what Cheshire West and Chester Council said was ‘criticism about a lack of capital investment in the ward’ despite it being one of the most deprived in the borough.

The authority said the action plan is a result of ‘extensive engagement’ over the last two years, which it said at times has been ‘controversial’ due to this perceived legacy of being ‘left behind’, together with parts of the ward feeling excluded from the initial communication led by consultants, opposition to suggestions for housing development together with overarching concerns about loss of services to the community caused by the cost-of-living crisis.

The resulting plan was developed by consultants on behalf of the council. It involved consultation with more than 500 people including engagement with children and youth groups, ‘pop-ups’, workshops and online surveys.

If the Cabinet approves the plan next Wednesday, it will form  the basis for regeneration, but each scheme will require funding.

A report to the Cabinet said: “Lache Action Plan will require funding to support project delivery, but further work is required to develop the scope of individual projects, undertake detailed cost assessment, and look at options to leverage external funding sources.

“All projects requiring funding from the Council’s capital budget will require a business case to be considered, in the context of budgets available and other commitments, once the proposals have been fully developed. No presumption of ring-fenced funding for delivery should be assumed at this point in time.”

It added: “While the four projects are broadly supported, it is important to continue to build trust and manage expectations of ward residents, especially around speed of delivery and funding available.”