Latest news from the Northgate project team

March 2020

Work begins on an exciting new market and leisure destination in the heart of Chester

After over 20 years of planning, delays and false starts, work begins in March to transform the Northwest of the city centre.

Chester Northgate is not a new shopping centre; instead it will provide a fantastic opportunity to build on the success of Storyhouse and provide a unique mix of leisure facilities including:

  • A new market and foodhall
  • Picturehouse – six screen cinema
  • Cafes, bars and restaurants
  • A new public square
  • Multi-storey car park with over 700 spaces

The development will integrate seamlessly with the surrounding parts of the city and is due to open late 2021. The old library frontage will be transformed into a new arcade and provide a stunning arched entrance into the development (see below), which will also be accessible from Hunter Street and Princess Street.

The scheme will provide a unique opportunity to create a new public square for the city, linking the new market hall, Storyhouse and the Town Hall. So thank you for your patience, please bear with us while we get on with the build.

In the meantime you can view a fly-through of the development and check our progress via our website.

Visit the website

Building new drainage for the city centre

In order to enable new developments such as Northgate, a new 1km drainage tunnel will need to be built, also starting in March, and will have a substantial impact on traffic using the inner ring road. This work will ensure Chester has far greater capacity for the drainage of surface water and will significantly reduce the risk of flooding or drain bursts, and raw sewage outfalls into the River Dee. Taking approximately one year to complete the project will ensure the city can cope with excess rainwater for the benefit of residents and businesses alike.

Environmental benefits

The new drain will result in many future-proof environmental protections and benefits.

We are working with Welsh Water to ensure that the drain meets water industry and environmental standards. The benefits will include:

  • Reducing instances of flooding and drain bursts in the city centre
  • Diverting rainwater away from the sewer network to reduce the volume of water requiring sewage treatment and reduce energy used as a result
  • Maximising the capacity of the existing sewer network
  • Providing a more efficient and sustainable rainwater drainage network for Chester
  • Reducing the risk of raw sewage discharges into the river when the current network is already at capacity.

A new rainwater drain for Chester

The new rainwater drainage tunnel will be a significant investment in the city centre’s future and is a necessary requirement ahead of forthcoming major developments and vastly improved city centre facilities.

The work will regrettably result in some disruption to traffic and to those visiting or working in Chester, but will enable major regeneration of the city centre for the benefit of residents and visitors for years to come. We believe any short-term disruption will be worth it in the long run.

Where will the drainage tunnel go?

It will run from Princess Street south along St. Martin’s Way, Nicholas Street, Grosvenor Road and Castle Drive, and will end with a new outfall into the river, see below.

How will the drain be built?

It will be almost 1km in length, 1.2m in diameter and require access shafts 5.5m wide and 7m deep. Over 85% of the new drain will be installed via tunnelling to minimise disruption above ground, but will require 10 access shafts along the route for the tunnelling equipment to operate between.

How will traffic be managed during the drain works?

Phase One: March – July 2020:
This will be to allow the contractor’s enabling works to be carried out and will impact southbound traffic along St. Martin’s Way and Nicholas Street; requiring lane closures and pavement restrictions, resulting in places where two lanes will be filtered into one; plus some occasional northbound lane closures.

Phase Two: July 2020 – May 2021:
During the full drain construction period, there will be further disruption on St. Martin’s Way and Nicholas Street, including new closures to southbound traffic from the Fountains Roundabout. This is essential to maintain public safety during tunnelling work. Full details of all diversions will be publicised in May.