In the Media: Property Week talks to Andy Williams about the Chester Growth Partnership

Property Week Chester CGP article June 2016 header

Right place, right time

"The CGP stands an excellent chance of being the catalyst to Chester's renaissance. The city fallen behind the regional competition and it is in danger of becoming a backwater. Take retail for example; Liverpool One, Cheshire Oaks, Manchester and the Trafford Centre, are all within an hour's drive, Chester simply doesn't compete at the moment.

"However, the city has so much potential, and there is clearly the will to make this change happen. There have been various plans on the drawing board for more than 25 years but these have been beset by stumbling blocks. Now, the pieces are in place and we finally have a comprehensive strategy and a very clear way forward. The business community is behind the One City Plan, the city council and Grosvenor are on board, and the Growth Partnership's experienced team of regeneration experts are taking a much broader view than ever before.

New funding

"By appealing to the national and international investment market, the Growth Prospectus has the opportunity to bring in new funding which, if successful, will shore up future developments currently in the pipeline and perhaps bring forward the timelines, which would be welcomed by all of us who live and work in the city.

"For the funds, investors and developers, Chester offers an excellent opportunity. As a city 'on the up' there are clearly gains to be made. Crucially, the Growth Prospectus isn't asking anyone to take a risk on being the first to put in the cash. Millions have already poured into the city and Muse Developments has kick started the regeneration with One City Place, creating a sense of confidence and excitement with those of us who have seen too many 'plans' fail to come to fruition.

"Investors can look at what has already been achieved and be reassured that not only are the institutions of the city behind the redevelopment, but that an extensive strategy is in place for its delivery. What's needed now is simply the investment to bring schemes forward which, when viewed as a whole, will equate to more than the sum of their parts.

"Hopefully the upward trajectory will be complemented by improvements in infrastructure, particularly the roads in to the city and car parking around the centre. We need the new homes and the job prospects which will keep our young people and graduates in the city, all of which go hand-in-hand with the commercial developments being promoted.

Thinking big

"Chester has a great foundation, it is a beautiful and well connected town, brilliantly located for the North West and London, and has enviable assets in terms of its Roman heritage, medieval and Victorian buildings, visitor attractions and top class University. The plan for the future is sound, and we now have the team in place with the best chance of making it happen. The Growth Prospectus talks about thinking big, and that's exactly what is needed to give the city centre the overhaul it needs and give Chester back its dignity."


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