Chester canalside pub's roof terrace plans rejected amid fears over cathedral views

-Credit: (Image: Google Street View)
-Credit: (Image: Google Street View)

A canalside pub in Chester city centre has had its plans for a roof terrace knocked back. The Lock Keeper wanted to transform an unused flat roof space into a terrace with a glazed balustrade and retractable canopy.

However, the proposed development has been rejected by Cheshire West and Chester Council. Case officer Emily Yates said in a report recommending refusal that while it was "appreciated" that the terrace would increase the capacity of the venue and "improve the offering of the function room on the first floor", these factors do not "outweigh the harm identified to the heritage assets" such as Chester Cathedral.

Her report states: "The existing flat roof area does not appear to be in use currently and as such the officer finds the impact of the space on the conservation area to be neutral. The proposal includes a retractable roof to cover the extent of the roof terrace, a new glass and metal balustrade to the perimeter of the terrace (facing the canal) along with a new staircase to the south of the building.

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"Alterations are also proposed to the windows to allow double doors and access onto the terrace area. The officer has concerns over the choice of glazed balustrade, noting it does not appear to relate to the site, or any other development to the beer garden area. Due to the elevated position of the terrace, it will not only be visible from the canalside, but also when approaching town via Frodsham Street.

"The development will also have an impact on views of the Cathedral from the canal side which are a key part of the City Centre and Chester Canal Conservation Areas, changing how this is experienced while viewed from both the canalside and Frodsham Street. The use of retractable canopies also adds to the impact on the conservation areas as they would appear imposing due to them being level with Frodsham Street.

"Furthermore, the proposed staircase and fencing would impact the views from the canal towards Frodsham Street and vice versa, altering how the conservation area is experienced. The addition of activity at the terrace level would also have an impact on how the conservation area is understood."

She concludes: "The proposal seeks planning permission to carry out works to utilise the use of an existing flat roof as a terrace for the public house. Given the intensification of this area for the proposed purpose along with the works, there is considered to be less than substantial harm to the conservation areas.

"It is appreciated the development would increase the capacity of the community facility and improve the offering of the function room on the first floor. However, these are not considered to outweigh the harm identified to the heritage assets. While the materials of the scheme could be amended, it is not considered this is the only harm as a result of the proposal but it is also the principle of formalising the first floor area.

"As such, the public benefits test is not considered to be passed. It is therefore considered that the less than substantial harm to the heritage assets would not be outweighed by the public benefits of the proposal. With the above in mind, the application is recommended for refusal."

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