TRADERS believe council chiefs have taken on board their objections to the proposed Northgate Development in Chester.
Members of the Northgate Traders Association had expressed concern the proposals would place a heavy traffic burden on Northgate Street and had presented alternative proposals to the council for traffic movement.
At a full house town hall meeting, the transport consultants for the development confirmed the association’s alternative proposals would work, and would reduce traffic in Northgate Street without affecting access or creating problems elsewhere.
On Friday, the association submitted an eight-page document with supporting consultant reports to the council and 62 comment from about 90 per cent of businesses in Northgate Street.
Association chairman Rod Cox said: “We studied the proposals extensively before proposing our alternative scheme, and getting it checked with independent Transport Consultants MDS Transmodal of Canal Street, who are one of the foremost companies in the UK involved in Urban Freight Delivery Solutions.
“When these proposals were put to WSP, the consultants acting on behalf of The Northgate Development, they worked on confirming the viability and benefits we indicated were real, and the council’s project officer for the Northgate Development, Mike Burchnall, has indicated these new proposals will be fully put to the executive as a potential improvement to the scheme.”
The association’s new proposal is to have traffic access the development from the ring road, and travel along an extended Hunter Street to service the city centre instead of travelling in via Northgate Street.
Traders argue this system will allow through traffic in the area that can be controlled outside those hours when servicing traffic is permitted, reducing the flow on Northgate Street.
Rod Cox added: “The only fly in the ointment is that, whether we use the Northgate Development proposals, or the Northgate Association Proposals, traffic will pass directly in front of the new theatre.
“We do not feel it is in the interests of anyone that this should be the case.
“Although our proposals seem to satisfy the Cathedral, residents and ourselves, it would be a shame if we could not go the extra mile to produce an integrated theatre as well.”
l The Northgate Development aims to breath new life into a large area of Chester’s city centre, through the creation of new shops, cafes, bars and flats.The proposed new theatre at the former Odeon Cinema also forms part of the multi-million-pound scheme.