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Chester

City Council

THE MAGAZINE FOR ALL RESIDENTS OF CHESTER DISTRICT


P3 Experts poised to uncover new amphitheatre secrets
P4 Improved disabled access at Blacon Nature Park
P5/8 Best Value Performance Plan summary
P9/11 Chester TOGETHER – tackling anti-social behaviour
P12 Riverside walkway breathes new life into Old Port
P13 House of Fraser joins Northgate quarter
P14 Chester website clicks with internet judges
P15 Booklet spells out Chester’s 20 year vision
P16 Charity women’s race set to return to city
P17 VIP guest joins Chester Food & Drink Festival
P18 Cabinet responsibility – who does what?
P19 What’s On in Chester – your daily guide
p20 Direct line to your service

House of Fraser to anchor


£280m Northgate scheme
– see page 13

OAll Human Life – The Kaleidoscope


of Victorian Painting, showing at
the Grosvenor Museum on May 24
(see What’s On guide, page 19)

O Star chef set to make Food & Drink Festival a sizzling success – see p17
Chester News 3

History
A
RCHAEOLOGISTS there to watch the
are gearing entertainment. Fast
up for a food Roman style!
second season of O Tantalising clues
excavations about the use of the
following last year’s amphitheatre in the
successful dig at the period after the
amphitheatre. Romans. For example,
The site has been one of the main
covered during the entrances was certainly
winter months to walled up – perhaps to
protect it from the maintain the
weather, but amphitheatre as a
archaeologists have fortress?
been working hard O The discovery of
behind the scenes on medieval artefacts,
the wealth of artefacts including a bone hair
and information comb, a complete
unearthed. pottery jug and a
This has led to a parchment clip.
number of exciting O Over 40 musket balls
insights into the unearthed. These
amphitheatre’s past, probably date from
both during and after the siege of Chester in
the Roman occupation. 1645, when the English
Civil War was at its
We found height.
There were many
evidence of other fascinating finds,
including the Roman
fast food – sword handle featured
in last autumn’s
Roman style edition of Chester
News.
Findings include: Why not check out
O Evidence that there Chester Visitor Centre,
were actually two located opposite the
amphitheatres built on site, to learn more
the site. The first was about the exciting
impressive, but it was discoveries being
dwarfed by the later made?
building, which had a The building now
massive 2.7m wide includes an
sandstone foundation. interpretation centre
O Evidence of external with special
stairways otherwise information kiosks,
known only at displays and
Pompeii. This makes exhibitions that bring
Chester a very the project to life and
important site for the provide details of all
study of the the findings to date. A
architectural computer-generated
development of movie can also be public get a close-up try logging onto the The amphitheatre is
amphitheatres viewed on a large view when the new website the focus of a three
throughout the Roman screen, providing a dig begins in May. This www.chesteramphithe year project involving
Empire. vivid picture of how year’s excavations will atre.co.uk the city council and
O A large proportion the amphitheatre hopefully help shed The website is packed English Heritage. The
of chicken bones and developed. new light on the early with information and findings will be used
beef ribs, implying that The specially post-Roman period of is linked up to a web to draw up a plan for
snacks were sold to constructed gangway Chester’s history. camera so you can the future
spectators who were over the site will also If you can’t get down watch the dig over conservation of the
let members of the to the amphitheatre, the internet. site.
4 Chester News

IMPROVEMENTS that landfill operator Waste


will give disabled Recycling Group Ltd,
people greater access administered by
to a popular park have environmental body
been welcomed. WREN (Waste,
The city council has Recycling and
resurfaced the Environmental
pathways in Blacon Network).
Nature Park to allow The Lord Mayor
better wheelchair said: "The park has
access. To mark the always proved very
improvements, the popular with the local
Lord Mayor of Chester, community and the
Councillor Terry Ralph, Friends of Blacon
recently took part in a Nature Park do some
tree planting terrific work to help
ceremony along with preserve, maintain and
local schoolchildren, run the site.
councillors and "These resurfaced
residents. pathways will help
The park was first ensure that everyone
opened in 1989 and is can enjoy what the
run by the city council park has to offer."
with help from the Richard Smith,
Friends of Blacon WREN area project
Nature Park group. manager said: "We are
The site includes wild delighted to have
flower meadows, a been involved in the
pond and woodlands. access improvements
The £14,000 at Blacon Nature Park.
improvement scheme, This valuable
which involved community resource
resurfacing the can now be used by all
pathways with and we hope it
bitumen, has been continues to be well
funded by the landfill used for years to
tax credits of local come."

OLord Mayor Cllr Terry Ralph escorts resident


Sandy Lyth around Blacon Nature Park
Chester News 5

Auditors give
us top marks
GOVERNMENT inspectors have
How we’ll take on
the big issues
praised Chester City Council for
the way it handles its finances.
In its annual letter to the council,
the Audit Commission says the
authority is continuing to deliver
quality services while setting an
"WELCOME to our spring 2005 We’re also redeveloping the
example for other councils in
Best Value Performance Plan Gorse Stacks and Delamere
areas like financial management.
The letter says the council has
Summary where we set out some Street and will improve transport
built on the ‘excellent’ of the work we have been doing amenities such as a new coach
Comprehensive Performance and outline the projects and reception facility and toilets at
Assessment (CPA) rating it tasks ahead in the coming the Little Roodee car park.
achieved last year, and is a OCouncil Leader months. We are working with partners
"source of good practice for Cllr David Evans This special edition looks to improve Chester Railway
other authorities." ahead to some of the big issues Station and its links to the city
The council is also praised for we’ll be dealing with, while the centre.
the way it proactively plans for results of our recent performance Your council already provides
and manages financial issues like as your council are also laid out concessionary travel discounts
Single Status. for you to examine. above the minimum set out by
Councillor Paul Roberts, Chester Like local councils all over the central government, but this year
City Council’s cabinet member country we face many challenges we will consider how we can
for resources, said: "The letter and city councillors, officers and make these discounts more
from the Audit Commission
our partners in the community generous and ensure public
shows that we are continuing to
have been working hard to find transport is more accessible to
build on our excellent CPA score,
the right solutions. older people.
and that our approach to
financial planning is a particular Our research shows that safer, In 2003, the government
ODeputy leader cleaner communities are a top judged Chester City Council an
strength.” Cllr John Price priority for many people. We excellent local authority – the
have decided to introduce only excellent district council in
Safer Communities community wardens patrolling the North West.
streets and parks to help tackle In 2004 the Audit Commission
Issues of crime and community safety come out as the top priority anti-social behaviour such as said that Chester: "….has built
in almost every resident’s survey we do, despite relatively low
littering, dog-fouling or noise on its excellent Comprehensive
crime levels in the Chester District. In fact, people see low crime
as the most important factor in making somewhere a good place
nuisance. Performance Assessment rating,
to live – whether it’s in the city centre, the suburbs or the Improved public spaces, becoming a source of good
countryside. The main offences residents want to see tackled are regeneration and better practice for other authorities."
burglary, youth nuisance and dangerous driving. transport facilities are also key to However, we know that there
a better quality of life. We’ve is always much more to do.
What we are already doing to help: already secured £280m of We are determined to learn
O extending the network of CCTV cameras across the city centre investment for new shops, from the best practice of other
and district, supported by a 24 hour CCTV command centre with homes, a library, theatre, bus councils and we’ll continue
direct links to the police station and modern market as working to improve and to
O Improving activities for children and young people part of the Northgate provide top quality services for
O providing burglary prevention training Development. the people of Chester.”
O controlling the consumption of alcohol in the street

What we plan to do: YOUR TOP SIX PRIORITIES


O extend CCTV coverage across the city centre and key outlying
centres such as Kingsway Parade in Newton We listen closely to your views These are the six areas that
O invest in mobile CCTV which can be quickly moved between to ensure that the priorities residents told us were
hotspots across Chester District and used in rural areas where we set accurately reflect your important you:
permanent cameras would stand out concerns. We do this through O safer communities
O build youth shelters, so that young people have somewhere regular consultation and O affordable housing
where they can hang out together events such ‘Ask the Audience’ O the environment
where 100 local people spent a
O travelling around Chester
Last year we said we would: day with councillors and senior
O a strong economy
O undertake a comprehensive audit of crime and disorder to officers discussing the issues
inform a new Community Safety Partnership strategy and a three facing Chester District. O children and young people
year action plan - we completed these projects
6 Chester News

Best Value Performance Plan summary

So what exactly do
we do..?
What does the council do?

Sometimes it’s the things that


are all around you that you are
least likely to notice. You might
just be surprised at the range of
services that Chester City
Council offers. Some you might
use everyday, some once in a
lifetime, others you may benefit
from but have never stopped
and wondered who provided
them.

Chester by numbers O almost 21,000 park and ride County Council, the Police and
journeys are made into the town Fire Service
Every day centre O we collect business rates from
O benefits are paid to 840 4,200 businesses
O around 370 people visit the
council offices Chester residents or landlords. O we conduct 275 land searches
O we process an average of 44 for house buyers
O the CCTV control centre
maintains 24 hour surveillance of planning applications ranging
the city centre from loft conversions to multi- Every year
million pound schemes such as O we receive almost half a
O more than 200 people visit the
Northgate leisure centre the Northgate Development million phone calls
O We cut 341,000 square metres O more than 1.25million people
Every week of grass in the summer contact our tourism information
O more than 600 residents have service
O we empty bins from 53,800
homes the opportunity to tend their O we maintain 60,000 square
council allotment metres of shrub beds and
O we empty more than 200 dog rockeries
bins O we provide 50 affordable
O around 430 people use the homes
dial-a-ride, rural ring-a-ride or O our licensing team processes
women’s safe transport services more than 100 hackney cab
licences and over 500 private hire
Every month taxi drivers licences
O over 440 tonnes of household O your council secures hundreds
waste is recycled – the equivalent of thousands of pounds of
weight of nearly sixty double- external funding from
decker buses organisations such as the
O our food hygiene team National Lottery or European
inspects 50 food premises Union
O nearly 7,000 people visit the O your local area holds four Area
museum Committee meetings to inform
O all 40 city council play areas and consult you about what is
and skate parks are inspected happening where you live
O Chester Crematorium caters O 2,700 local people are
for 18 burials and 170 cremations surveyed to help us set priorities
O 48 people get married in and find out what residents
Chester Town Hall. think of the services we provide
O we collect council tax from O last year a survey on housing
53,800 households on behalf of needs went to a further 15,000
Chester City Council, Cheshire households
Chester News 7

Best Value Performance Plan summary

Affordable Housing
What we are already doing to help:
Affordable housing means bringing homes within
the reach of people who can’t afford to either rent R street cleaning
or buy on the open market. In the past year house R maintaining public spaces and parkland
prices in Chester District have risen by over 20%, R using planning rules to protect historic Chester
with the average terraced house now costing and public spaces
£140,000. To successfully apply for a mortgage for R improving the standard of the public toilets that

`
that amount you would need a household income we provide
of almost £47,000 per year. R providing kerbside collections of recyclable
waste
What we are already doing to help: R we have piloted doorstep collection of glass and
R working with local housing associations like batteries for recycling
The Chester and District Housing Trust which provides R managing our environment for the protection of
more than 6500 local affordable rented homes our residents
countryside R securing extra funding to build houses
and built As a council we demand that 25% of all new
What we plan to do:
R improve the quality of street cleansing through:
environment homes built in our area are affordable. In other
words, to be allowed to build and sell 40 new
– more frequent street washing
– removing chewing gum litter
play a huge luxury flats, developers must build 10 affordable R increase recycling opportunities
homes. This currently brings around 50 new R review the way we provide grounds
role in affordable homes a year for Chester, but new maintenance services
restrictions on house building in the North West
making the will mean fewer new houses, so we need to look Last year we said we would:
elsewhere for next year’s affordable homes.
District a R introduce a pilot recycling collection scheme for
glass and batteries – we did
What we are planning to do:
pleasant R increase investment in affordable housing
R increase the frequency of rural street cleaning
– we did
place to live R provide more affordable homes to rent
R look across the District to find sites where new
and we are affordable houses can be built Travelling around Chester
In a recent survey residents set out ‘….being able

`
committed to
maintaining
them.
R work with the owners of empty properties to
bring them back into use
R provide grants and support to homeowners in
need who want to improve or adapt their homes
rather than move

The Environment
The countryside and built environment play a
to travel around Chester easily’ as a priority for
improvement and as one of the five most
important things that makes somewhere a good
place to live.

What we are already doing to help:


R our older residents are entitled to a 50%
discount on bus journeys starting or finishing in
huge role in making the District a pleasant place to Cheshire
live and we are committed to maintaining them. R offering ‘door to door’ accessible transport
In a recent survey of residents, cleaner streets through dial-a-ride
were identified as a top five priority for R providing shop mobility services and Blue Badge
improvement. parking
R more than one million people a year use the
Park & Ride service, reducing the numbers of cars
driving into the city centre
R as a part of the Northgate Development we are
building a new bus station and a new coach
terminal at the Roodee
R we are working with partners to improve
Chester railway station

What we plan to do:


R this year we will examine how we can extend
our Concessionary Travel Scheme, making it even
more generous and ensuring that our older
residents are able to travel around the county
R consider how we can offer extra ‘accessible
transport’ options for rural areas.
8 Chester News

Best Value Performance Plan summary

A strong economy R promoting Chester as a


tourist destination
Chester has a healthy economy with
What we plan to do:
below average levels of unemployment,
although there are pockets of higher
Employment
unemployment. The priorities of local
residents as set out in the Community R buy land and build
Plan include more job opportunities and workshops to rent
employment for all. R target new business
sectors
What we are already doing to help: R offer help to those
looking for work
Employment R provide young people
R attracting new investment with training in new and
R working with expanding businesses traditional skills
R supporting self-employment R offer a grant scheme for
R providing a grant scheme for rural the whole of the District
businesses R help people start
businesses
Regeneration R develop more IT
R working with partners to improve the Resource Centres
area around Chester Railway Station R work with
neighbouring councils to spread R giving grants to organisations that
Shopping employment opportunities work with young people
R redeveloping and improving the
Shopping What we plan to do:
Northgate area
R promote distinctive shopping R create more sports and leisure
R organising and publicising events and
R market Chester more effectively as a facilities
festivals
tourist and shopping destination R reduce costs to increase participation
R offering shopping discounts through
the Charisma Card R refurbish and bring empty shops back
into use Last year we said we would:
R develop a city centre street warden R spend £90,000 on improving play
service areas - we did
R spend £5,000 on providing disabled
children with access to play areas – we
Children and Young did
People R ask children and young people what
issues they want to see dealt with – we
Chester District is home to almost 22,000 did
people under 16 years old, who make
up 18.5% of our residents. In a recent What do you think?
survey you identified improving If you have any comments or questions
activities for teenagers as your fourth or would like more information on any
highest priority for the District. of the projects set out in this summary
please contact:
What we are already doing to help:
Morgan Jones, Performance Officer,
Chester City Council, The Forum,
R providing safe, cheap places to hang
Chester, CH1 2HS
out, including youth shelters which
Morgan.jones@chester.gov.uk
provide a purpose built place where
Tel: 01244 402 123
young people can meet at a time that
suits them and at no cost
R supporting for Blacon and Lache
adventure playgrounds which offer safe OThe full Best Value Performance Plan will
play environments for children be published in July and contains more
detailed information on the council’s
R talking to young people to find out
performance. It will be available in local
what they want
libraries, at www.chester.gov.uk or from
R supporting schools in delivering the
Morgan Jones at the above address.
national curriculum
TER Chester News 9

HES
C
Chester Community Safety Partnership brings together
Chester City Council, Cheshire Constabulary, Cheshire Fire
Service, Cheshire County Council, Cheshire West Primary
Care Trust, Connexions, Cheshire Youth Offending Team,
National Probation Service and a range of community and
voluntary organisations to tackle crime, anti-social
behaviour and the fear of crime.

“The Government
has chosen
Community needs
Chester among
only 50 other
towns and cities
in England as an
are our priority...
OUTLINE OF THE PROJECTS
Action Area for
combating crime "TOGETHER" is a national campaign that will take a stand against
anti-social behaviour, putting the local community’s needs first.
and anti-social Chester TOGETHER will deliver a co-ordinated and targeted approach
behaviour. towards addressing anti-social behaviour in Chester District.
Action Area status recognises how
Chester Community Safety The project will:
Partnership under the "TOGETHER"
O Engage with local communities to ensure that people who live or
campaign, is dealing with anti- work in Chester are fully involved with the project.
social behaviour in the District. O Recruit a case worker to co-ordinate all the work relating to the
The Action Area status also development and enforcement of the Anti Social Behaviour Action
recognises how the partnership is Area status.
leading the way in targeting repeat O Establish an Anti-social Behaviour Hotline as a single point of contact
for people in Chester who are experiencing anti-social behaviour.
offenders. O Develop a marketing strategy to ensure that all who live or work in
The Home Office has awarded Chester are aware of the actions being taken to address anti-social
significant funding to Chester Chester
behaviour across the District.
Community Safety Partnership to O Identify, implement and monitor a range of actions designed to
TOGETHER will
address anti-social behaviour in Chester.
assist future initiatives and to deliver a
support Chester’s Action Area co-ordinated
AIMS OF THE PROJECT ARE TO:
and targeted
status under the "TOGETHER" approach
campaign.” towards O Increase public confidence in the capability of local partners,
addressing anti- working with communities to tackle and reduce anti-social behaviour
social behaviour in Chester.
Cllr John Price
in Chester O Raise awareness of the actions taken by partners and local
Chairman of Community Safety District. communities, to tackle and reduce the incidences of anti-social
Partnership behaviour.
Page 10 Chester News Chester News Page 11

The Chester "TOGETHER" campaign is about taking action. Action Lines


Wardens on patrol By working together, we can deliver change in our community.
For environmental anti-social
behaviour such as abandoned
vehicles, noise nuisance, littering,
fly-tipping, graffiti and dog fouling,
A NEW team of
community safety
wardens will soon be
patrolling local
communities
throughout Chester
holder for Community
Safety, Councillor Bob
Rudd (pictured)
welcomed the
introduction of the
district wide service
Delivering change contact:

Chester City Council


01244 402477
Email:
helping to tackle anti- which is scheduled to 1. To reduce the number of HOW ?: callcentre@chester.gov.uk
social behaviour, be rolled out around reported incidents of anti-social O control on street drinking
monitoring the local Chester starting in If a crime is being committed,
behaviour. O closure of properties dealing
environment and being April. contact:
with drugs
a re-assuring "friend He said: "Anti-social HOW ?:
on the street" in behaviour and O reduction in aggressive Chester Police
O greater public involvement begging
neighbourhoods across reduce the fear of environmental crime is 01244 350222
the District. always a difficult nut O reduction in alcohol related O increase in number of
crime. Email:
The city council run to crack and is anti-social behaviour successful Anti-Social Behaviour
By making targeted PublicContact@cheshire.
service will work powers available to overwhelmingly the O reduction in noise Orders
closely with the those working to public’s number one nuisance O increase support to young pnn.police.uk
council’s own improve community priority for us to O access to single contact people through Acceptable
environmental tackle. This is an reporting system It’s your call!
safety, the police Behaviour Contracts (ABCs)
protection and CCTV accreditation scheme exciting new service O increased support for
teams as well as the for Chester which will We need you to play your part,
will allow wardens to targeted young people 4.Increase the level of public so pick up the phone
police, fire service and deal directly with low expand the whole
through a range of satisfaction with Chester and let us know what’s going on
other key partners to level nuisance ‘policing family’ and
diversion projects District public spaces such as in your neighbourhood.
help combat the range problems and save help us all deal more
of ‘crime & grime’ effectively with these parks, city centre, canal areas
valuable police officer 2. Reduce the FEAR etc. "TOGETHER" we can tackle
problems which blight time. problems. anti-social behaviour and make
people’s everyday lives. "The introduction of crime.
An important role our communities cleaner, greener
The wardens will be of the Community HOW? :
for the new wardens and safer.
a uniformed, highly team will be to work Safety Wardens will O Ensure quick and effective
trained professional with the more help reduce crime collection of drug paraphernalia
service working in the vulnerable sections of and the fear of crime HOW ?: from public spaces
local community and our community, and improve the O increase awareness O reduction in dog fouling
will be given special especially children, quality of life for around anti-social O reduction in graffiti and fly
powers to deal with young people and the everyone in Chester. behaviour issues and posting
low level nuisance and elderly, and provide This initial service is what is being achieved
environmental crime just the start of bigger O reduction in fly tipping
increased re-assurance O increased coverage
such as graffiti, and better things with O reduction in litter and gum
and protection in our with CCTV
vandalism, abandoned communities and more investment O improvements to the care
vehicles, dog fouling planned for future O implement a new and maintenance of our open
public spaces.
and litter. years and a continued Community Safety spaces
The initial team of
Cheshire Police are drive to re-engineer Warden Service linked to
twelve staff will focus
also working with the on existing ‘hotspot’ existing budgets where Police and Community
city council to develop and known priority it is sensible to do so. Support Officers
a Community Safety areas and be deployed "Working closely
Accreditation Scheme through consultation with Superintendent 3.increase feelings of personal
which would give the with Area Committees, Ian Hopkins of Chester safety in specific and named
wardens additional Parish Councils, the police, the scheme will parts of the District.
powers to address anti- Police and Fire Services. be expanded over the
social behaviour and Cabinet portfolio- next three years"
12 Chester News

Dee-lightful
walkway
begins to
take shape
WORK on a new riverside walkway
is well underway as the
regeneration of Chester’s Old Port
continues apace.
The pedestrian and cycle route has
been under construction since mid-
September and is due to be finished by
contractors Harry Fairclough
Construction Ltd by the summer. viewing platforms that will allow people Dee, creating an uninterrupted route
It will act as a link between the to take-in the beautiful scenery along from the Groves in Chester to
existing walkway built as part of the this stretch of the river, which will be Queensferry in Flintshire.
Watkin Jones development, and a accessible to the general public for the Plans for a walkway stretching from
further section that may be constructed first time in over 200 years." the Groves were given the green light
if the proposed residential element of The project is being driven by the by the city’s planning board in
the development of the Old Port by city council, with additional funding December. The scheme is being part-
David McLean Homes is given the go- from WREN (the landfill tax credits funded with European money under the
ahead. body), West Chester Regeneration Board Water in Historic City Centres
The aim is to create a continuous and the Northwest Regional programme – a partnership project
route along the entire length of the Development Agency (NWDA), which involving cities in Belgium, the
River Dee in the Old Port, and to has contributed £840,000 to the project. Netherlands and Ireland.
improve existing flood defences. Chris Koral, NWDA area manager for At the same time, the other end of
Councillor Jim Latham, cabinet Cheshire, said: "The NWDA is pleased to the Old Port section will link to a
member for development, said: "The support the regeneration of Chester’s riverside route being planned in
particular section of walkway under Old Port, culminating in a riverside partnership with Flintshire County
construction at the moment will run promenade. Council, stretching from Queensferry to
along the riverbank fronting Crane "Comprehensive access to the River the Welsh-English border at the edge of
Warf, the TS Deva building and the Dee will enhance the historic value of the city.
electricity compound. the area and boost Chester’s tourism This will eventually create one of the
"Some sections of the wooden offer. Increased flood protection will longest and most impressive riverside
boardwalk are suspended over the also unlock derelict and underused land promenades in the country, helping
historic river wall using a cantilever for further regeneration." people get greater access to and
structure, while others are actually The promenade in the Old Port will enjoyment from the Dee by providing a
suspended over the water itself, helping eventually link to two similar walkways practical, green journey route for
to create a pier-effect. There are also along neighbouring stretches of the pedestrians and cyclists.
Chester News 13

Licensed to
get rid of
drink louts
PUBLIC safety, anti-social
behaviour and general
nuisance will be major
considerations as Chester City
Council begins considering
licensing applications this
spring.
In February we took up our
new responsibilities under the
Licensing Act 2003, which
used to be dealt with by
magistrates, with full
responsibility from November
this year.
The activities covered by
this new Licensing Act are the
sale of alcohol, public
entertainments and late night

Retail giant boosts


refreshments.
These will now be covered
by a range of new "premises"
and "personal" licences. The
Act also allows applicants to
apply for longer hours to sell

shops development
alcohol.
We will consider all licences
and applications against the
four main aims of the Act:-
O The prevention of crime
and disorder LEADING retailers, House of Fraser,
O Public safety
O The prevention of public
nuisance
will form the lynchpin of the
redevelopment of the Northgate
House of Fraser
quarter of the city when it sets up
O The protection of children
from harm
We will also consider them
shop as part of the £280m scheme.
House of Fraser has taken a 35 year lease
to form hub of
against our own Licensing on the 160,000 sq ft anchor unit located to
Policy Statement.
Cabinet portfolio holder
for health and wellbeing,
the northwest of the site which comprises a
further 60 units, including three major Northgate plan
councillor Mia Jones said: "We stores.
have had an excellent The overall development of Northgate Chester’s historic shopping area. "
response from the licensing will provide 440,000 sq ft of shop space, a Siep Hoeksma, joint managing director of
trade and other interested new performing arts centre, library, market ING Real Estate Development UK said: "We
parties to our consultation hall, bus station, council offices, several civic are delighted to have attracted one of the
carried out towards the end of top retail names to the city for the first
squares, as well as 112 new residential
last year. time.
"This new law imposes apartments.
important obligations on the The scheme, undertaken by Northgate "This important step forward sends a
city council and we are Limited Partnership, part of ING Real Estate message to local people that we are
determined to exercise our Development UK, will replace the Forum committed to making Northgate a reality."
responsibilities correctly. shopping centre and Gateway theatre and The plans for the substantial
"Pubs, clubs and relocate the central library and market hall. redevelopment of an under-utilised area of
restaurants are vital to Chester city centre comprises a site fronting
Chester’s social life and public Chester City Council leader, Councillor
image, but we won’t be afraid David Evans and deputy leader, Councillor onto Northgate Street and behind
to use the powers to tackle John Price said: "This is great news. The Watergate Street and encompasses much of
any antisocial and public House of Fraser name and the new retail the northwest quarter of the city inside the
safety issues surrounding the provision will complement and enhance the Roman walls. The historic town hall will
sale and consumption of existing shops in the city, making the city remain untouched at the heart of the
alcohol." development, along with all other buildings
The council’s Licensing centre much more attractive for shoppers
across the region." of architectural and historical importance.
Policy Statement is available in
full on the council website Steve Hibbert, operations director of An open style streetscape will be
www.chester.gov.uk or a copy House of Fraser said :"We are pleased to reintroduced based on the historic street
or additional information is have secured such a significant unit in one pattern lost more than 30 years ago. The
available from the licensing of the most exciting retail led mixed use new quarter will integrate with the city’s
team on 01244 402138 or historic townscape, with modern buildings
schemes planned for the UK. Northgate will
e-mail at
provide the flexible shop area we need and providing two level ‘rows’ of shops.
liquorlicensing@chester.gov.uk
which was not previously available in Work should be completed in 2008.
14 Chester News

All aboard for the sight-seers’ Safari tours


A NEW series of sight-seeing excursions Brook next August and Pontcysyllte 200 –
takes to the road in March thanks to Rural the bicentenary of Britain’s biggest sail-in-
Safari Bus Tours. the-sky aqueduct in November!
The tours will take residents and visitors Full details of the tours are to be
on exciting trips into the Cheshire, featured in What’s On in Chester and the
Shropshire and North Wales countryside. new visitchester.com web-site where
Departing from Chester Visitor Centre by people can book on-line.
the Roman Amphitheatre (and by Chester Tickets will be on sale at the Town Hall
Cathedral on Sundays), the tours will Tourist Information Centre and Chester
explore the secret delights and hidden Visitor Centre.
treasures of the surrounding area. The new £205,000 project is being
A full tour programme is currently being funded by Cheshire Rural Recovery
developed including Land of the Red Programme and Leader+ England and
Dragon, Chomping around Cheshire, Secret Charming Championships and Sing with a Wales and co-ordinated by Chester City
Gardens, Haunted Cheshire, Border Battles Welsh Choir. Council Tourism. It runs until September
and River of No Return. Mainstream events will also be covered 2007.
Other trips in development are including crowd-pullers like Holly Holy Day Contact: Gerald Tattum, Tourism
excursions to off-beat events like Bawming Civil War Battle, the Motorbike Mania of Development Officer
of the Thorn, Erddig Apple Festival, Thundersprint 2005, the massive Inland Tel: 01244 402150 e-mail:
Carriage Driving Contests and World Worm Waterways Festival sailing into Preston g.tattum@chester.gov.uk

Site nets top praise


A NEW Chester website Metropolitan Borough Council council to update and manage reader technology, which helps
re-launched at the end was first while Doncaster MBC the content. visually impaired users
of 2004 has been rated was at the bottom of the Many of the improved O more information and
as one of the best in its table. features were driven by public advice for dealing with
Rankings are based on how comments. The website now emergencies, health and
field in the entire the website functions, how includes: education matters and a
country. accessible it is, how it performs O a completely new search ‘news and views’ section
At the time of going to and on technical points of engine, structure and A-Z
press Chester City Council’s O a webcam covering the
design. system, making it even easier summer Chester Amphitheatre
new website was ranked 13th The city council’s site scored to find information excavations and two more
out of 460 council websites by highly thanks to a "content O text-only and print versions, planned - one of them
Site Morse, one of Britain’s management system," which which are easier to read focusing on the Town Hall
leading automated website allows staff throughout the O a design for use with screen City council portfolio
testing organisations. Trafford
holder for e-government and
deputy leader councillor John
Price said: "People can get a
great deal from the new
improved site. From telling us
about graffiti that needs
removing to viewing stray
dogs in need of a new home.
Residents can use it to pay
council tax while tourists can
book hotels online. Anyone
can read our press releases or
the latest issue of our
magazine Chester News.
"The website is there to
help people contact us, find
out about council services and
get general advice. It has been
ranked in the top 10 district
council websites in two out of
the last three years, so to be
13th in comparison with all
councils in the UK - district,
county, unitary and
metropolitan, is a marvellous
achievement by our dedicated
web team and shows the
council’s commitment to e-
government "
To check out the new
website log on to
www.chester.gov.uk
Chester News 15

Cash aid to OChildren from Dorin Park School help the Lord Mayor open the new play area at Grosvenor Park

Booklet spells out 20 years of development plans


improve
play zones the
WE have recently invested in
improvements to three
children’s play areas across the
District bringing them up to
standards laid down by the
Disability Discrimination Act.
Big Picture...
SCORES of development schemes Project Chester is an attempt to put our
Chester City Council set that will literally shape Chester contribution to that plan into one
aside £25,000 for playground District’s future for the next 20 years comprehensive document to stimulate
improvements split between have been outlined in one easy to discussion between the partners.
sites run by the council, parish In a joint statement city council leader,
councils and local read booklet for the first time.
Project Chester is a 57 page illustrated Councillor David Evans, deputy leader,
management groups.
Up to £14,000 was ploughed guide to a series of exciting programmes in Councillor John Price and leader of the
into works at Grosvenor Park, and around the city, piecing together the opposition, Councillor Margaret Parker
Sandy Lane and Alexandra jigsaw of development, regeneration and said: "With our partners Chester City
Park which were completed in improvement schemes earmarked or already Council is delivering a challenging agenda
the New Year. and Project Chester now illustrates this big
underway.
The book outlines the city council’s "big picture that is unfolding all around us, in
Grosvenor Park
picture" which covers culture, tourism, the the city and rural areas.
O A flush level roundabout so
children or carers can get on economy, sport and leisure, enterprise, "Chester is being transformed, but this
to the roundabout without wildlife conservation and Chester at night. transformation is based upon the people of
having to step up to the It also highlights how we and our partners Chester, its culture and its distinctive
platform. This makes it easier character. We aim to make Chester a city of
are successfully tackling "crime and grime
for children with mobility world stature and we are asking residents,
problems to play together issues."
Following extensive consultation in 2001 businesses and all organisations here to
with other children.
the city council and leading partners join us in our endeavours"
O Two new spring mobiles
with upper body supports for launched a community plan known as Project Chester is available in hard copy
children who need them to Chester’s Way Ahead, a long-term or on disc from Elaine Penlington on 01244
help them play. blueprint for action on social and economic 402218 or
issues facing the District. online www.chester.gov.uk/projectchester
Sandy Lane
O A dish roundabout that
provides access for children Don’t lose your voice – make democracy work
whatever their abilities.
O A 'talking bob' - an CHESTER City Council’s O employs more than 300 staff If you are not registered to
interactive stand alone play electoral team make it possible to work at the various vote you cannot vote in any
item that 'talks' to the user for you to have your say in all locations on polling day election.
through a wind up elections- Parliamentary, O produces and processes There are no Chester City
mechanism. European, Chester City Council, 54,000 registration forms so Council elections in 2005.
Cheshire County Council and people can be registered to There are Cheshire County
Alexandra Park Parish Council. vote Council elections and
O Music pipes and small The busy team: O organises the counting of possibly a General Election.
seating area. O books up to 98 premises for the votes and declaring the Make democracy work - use
polling stations results your vote.
O A 'talking bob'.
16 Chester News

Car crime
campaign
steps up
a gear...
Ladies first as MEMBERS of the public
are being urged to help
mark the cards of car

‘Race for Life’ criminals in Chester and


Ellesmere Port.
The campaign to
encourage the public to
provide information
about people who

returns to city
THIS summer Cancer hasn’t taken part in Race for
commit car crime enters
its second phase this
month as part of a joint
initiative involving the
local councils, police and
fire service.
Posters, leaflets, signs
Research UK's Race for Life before to try it this year.
in car parks and news
Life, supported by Chester Not only is it a hugely
stories are just some of
City Council and Tesco, enjoyable experience, it also the tactics being
will be returning to contributes to a cause that employed to get the
Chester for the eighth touches most of our lives in message across that
time. The popular 5km, some way. Those that have providing information
taken part before will, I am about car criminals can
women-only fundraiser
sure, need no encouragement help catch offenders and
will take place on June 8
to do so again.’ reduce the amount of car
at Chester Zoo. James Dunphy, Race theft, car break-ins and
In 2004, more than 2,500 Organiser, said: ‘Every single vandalism.
women in the area raised woman who takes part in and The publicity follows
£136,000. This year, Cancer raises funds through Race for on from last year’s
Research UK is hoping to top Life makes an invaluable campaign to encourage
that figure with a fundraising contribution in the fight people to be more
target of £150,000 for women against cancer. Huge advances security conscious when
taking part in the Chester race. leaving their cars parked,
have been made in cancer
In total, Race for Life is aiming for example by making
research since Race for Life
to raise £23million. sure they lock their car
began in 1994, due in part to properly, park in a well-
The money raised provides the £70 million that the past
much needed funds for Cancer lit spot if possible and
events have raised.’ avoid leaving anything
Research UK’s continuing work Cancer Research UK's Race on display.
to cure cancer. for Life is a series of 162 Project Autocrime is
The latest figures show that fundraising walks or runs open an ongoing initiative
more than 31,000 people in the to all women across the UK. supported by Chester
North West are diagnosed with For more information and to Community Safety
cancer every year. More than
one in three people in Britain
sign up for this event and ‘Every single Partnership. In addition
other similar events taking to the awareness
will develop cancer at some place in Chester please visit woman who campaigns, the initiative
point in their life and one in www.chester.gov.uk/sports or also involves special
four will die from the disease. phone 08705 134 314 takes part policing operations
Former Blue Peter presenter targeting the few
Sarah Greene is patron of Race
As always, spaces in Race
for Life are strictly limited, so if
makes an persistent criminals that
for Life and has participated commit the majority of
every year since it began. She
you want to raise money for
Cancer Research UK, why not
invaluable vehicle crimes in Chester
said: ‘I have taken part in and Ellesmere Port.
around 50 Race for Life events
sign up today? Last year’s race
was extremely popular with all
contribution in If you have any
information about car
now, and while each has been
different, the atmosphere at
places filling up nearly six the fight crime, or any other
weeks before the closing date! crime, call Crimestoppers
every one has been
unforgettable.
The event is open to women of against cancer.’ on 0800 555111.
all fitness levels.
"I encourage anyone who
Chester News 17

Grant scheme
to give new
firms a lift...
A NEW grant scheme to help
local businesses in Chester has
been given the go ahead.
Grants of up to £3000 could
be available after Chester City
Council approved a scheme that
would see the rent income from
one of its own properties
ploughed back into the
community to help new and
existing businesses and social
enterprises across the District set
up or develop a project.
To qualify applicants must be
based in the Chester District,
employ fewer than 50 people,
OSAY CHEESE: competitors enjoy the traditional cheese rolling contest in Eastgate Street have an annual turnover of less
than £2.5m and have a viable
project. They must also be up to
Celebrity chef aims to cook up a spring treat date on council tax or business
rates and have the necessary

Sizzling success
planning consents.

Standards
The city council, which will
administer the scheme, hopes
CELEBRITY chef Gary Rhodes will be the new initiative will enable
smaller businesses to grow while
among those showing off their
at the same time meeting its
culinary skills at the Chester Food own aims of raising
and Drink Festival this spring. employment, environmental
Chester will host its fourth Food and improvements and quality
Drink Festival from Saturday March 26 to standards.
Sunday April 3 to coincide with the school Applicants will be encouraged
Easter holidays so families can enjoy the to take a work placement, agree
food, drink and special events in and to a free environmental audit
around the city. who has extensive experience and is and demonstrate a commitment
The 2005 festival, with a substantially involved with city restaurants Pastarazzi, to social or community contracts.
increased programme of events, celebrities The Globe and the historic Boat Inn at Any grant would not exceed
and celebrations will be centred on a Erbistock in north Wales. 75% of the cost of the project
massive marquee in the Crown Court car He said: "Our region has an amazing with the applicant meeting at
park next to Chester Castle. wealth of fine foods and produce, as well least 25% of the cost themselves.
as many fantastic eating and drinking Cabinet portfolio holder of
Marquee events include a large
venues. The aim of this festival is to the economy, Councillor Reggie
producers’ market from Bank Holiday
encourage all the different sectors to work Jones said the scheme
Monday March 28 to Wednesday March 30, demonstrated the council’s
which will act as a showcase for the together to produce an event befitting this
willingness to back the local
district’s impressive variety of top quality historic and exciting city, its residents and
economy with significant
produce, from cheeses, meat products, fruit, visitors.
resources.
vegetables, ice cream, shrimps, salmon and "The marquee will be a venue for a host He said: "This grant regime
cider to homemade chocolates and of different events such as wine tasting, will harness the knowledge and
preserves. cookery demonstrations and a cocktail experience of those involved in
The marquee will also hold celebrity chef competition. It will add to the special offers the city centre, the rural areas
demonstrations throughout the festival, at eating and drinking venues around and those developing the
and the Gala dinner on Thursday, March Chester and Cheshire that proved to be so neighbourhood renewal strategy
31.So far, celebrity chefs Gary Rhodes, popular in 2004 and the key events like the for Chester District.
Simon Rimmer and Andrew Nutter have cheese rolling competition on Wednesday, "It provides support for
signed up to the event. There will be special March 23, the ale assize and the medieval existing businesses and offers an
offer meal deals and events at top venues banquet on Saturday, April 2. incentive for the development of
"It all adds up to an extra special reason social enterprises essential to
across the region with a new focus on
for residents and visitors to be out and stimulate economic activity. This
regional and local retailers and producers.
about Chester during Easter Week." in turn will foster business
The festival is run by a committee of growth and create job
representatives from the local food and For more information check out:
opportunities."
drink sector chaired by Stephen Wundke www.chesterfoodanddrink.com
18 Chester News

Maintaining our
YOUR council has a committee
Standards
has seven councillors and three non-
councillor members selected following a
investigate any conduct that appears
not to reach nationally set standards.
that looks at the standards of
public advertisement and an interview. You can contact the board on
public life and public service we There is also a parish council
provide. www.standardsboard.co.uk or Tel:
representative. 0845 078 8181.
The committee aims to promote high The committee’s first annual report
ethical standards in the organisation so Councils must appoint a ‘Monitoring
declared that it was satisfied that the
residents and others dealing with us council has been acting ethically. You Officer’. At Chester, this is Charles
can continue to rely on the good name can view the annual report on our web Kerry, solicitor to the council, who can
of Chester City Council and its site at www.chester.gov.uk help answer any queries.
councillors and have trust in the Nationally, the Standards Board for He can be contacted on 01244
democratic process. England seeks to promote high 402118 or via e-mail on
The Ethics and Standards Committee standards in public life and will c.kerry@chester.gov.uk

YOUR CABINET
How the
Cabinet
works
FULL Council
appoints the
cabinet, which
is made up of
the Council
●Cllr David Evans, ●Cllr John Price, ●Cllr Ann Farrell, Leader, Deputy
Council Leader and Deputy Leader and culture Leader and
community leadership e government & Portfolio
technology
Holders.

The cabinet
meets once a
month and
must make
decisions
within the
council’s policy
framework and
budget.

●Cllr Paul Roberts, ●Cllr Bob Rudd, ●Cllr Mia Jones,


resources community safety health and well-being

●Cllr Jim Latham, ●Cllr Ruth Davidson, ●Cllr Reggie Jones,


●Cllr Rob Jordan,
development people, performance economy
environment
and improvement