BUSINESS leaders are actively promoting the £115m Chester Central Business Quarter which has been forecast to create 3,500 jobs.
Manchester-based Muse Developments are due to start work early next year on the first stage of the hugely ambitious scheme near the railway station.
Planning permission has already been granted for a six-storey office block providing 70,000 square feet of office space and the development will eventually include seven office blocks, 200 homes, restaurants, shops and leisure facilities.
The site stretches from the railway station out to Boughton and features on a list of ‘oven-ready’ strategic sites being promoted to investors, occupiers and the government to bring fresh investment to the city.
Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) are pushing the sites and has pledged support for existing and incoming businesses including bidding for government and European funding.
Louise Morrissey, land and planning director for development giant Peel Holdings, chairs the LEP’s employment land sub-group.
She said: “We’ve moved beyond the general ‘come to Cheshire – we’re open for business’ message to focus on our specific employment sites. We are putting the spotlight on the sites that are genuinely ready for development.
“Everyone has different ideas of what ‘oven-ready’ means. We think it means they are allocated in the local authority’s core strategy for employment use, they are likely to have planning consent and if the infrastructure is not quite in the ground ,it is more or less deliverable.
“We’ve already been working these sites into our growth conversations with government and looking for infrastructure funding or other opportunities for these sites.”
Chester Central Business Quarter is a key project in the One City Plan. It is hoped the development will support 3,500 jobs by 2028.
Christine Gaskell, chairman of LEP, said: “Currently, Cheshire and Warrington has the strongest performing economy in the north – but that’s not good enough for us.
“We want to be competing with the strongest economies within the UK and internationally. Our ambition is achievable and the LEP board recognises that its job is to get the best deal for Cheshire and Warrington to help our businesses go further faster.”