'Unique' food and drink hub on rooftop of Chester car park gets go-ahead

The top of Pepper Street car park -Credit:Planning application
The top of Pepper Street car park -Credit:Planning application

Revised plans for a "unique" food and drink hub on the rooftop of a Chester city centre multi-storey car park have been given the go-ahead. The main change to the original scheme, which was granted approval from both the planning and licensing committees at Cheshire West and Chester Council last autumn, is the addition of "a retractable roof structure over the seating area".

The development - set to create 50 jobs and launch this year - is a joint venture between Grosvenor's Eaton Estate and iKO Events Ltd that was inspired by several similar schemes in London. In February this year, a fresh planning application was lodged making alterations to the initial plans.

That application has now been rubber-stamped by the planning department this week, despite objections from 23 people. Bridgegate East Residents’ Association (BERA) also opposed the latest plans stating that "the new roof would be clearly visible and not in keeping with this area of historic importance".

READ: Chester rooftop food and drink hub to open in 2024 after licence go-ahead The Pepper Street car park venue will create 50 jobs

READ: Plans to open Chester food and drink hub on rooftop of Pepper Street car park The Pepper Street rooftop destination would also include an events space which could host an ice rink at Christmas

According to case officer Lyndsay Shinner's planning report, MP Samantha Dixon had publicly "reiterated" her concerns over possible anti-social behaviour. Despite the representations, she recommended the plans for approval, subject to conditions.

The report states: "This application amounts to a re-submission of the planning application submitted last year for the same proposal to create a roof top venue on the top two floors of the NCP car park. This was granted permission by the Planning Committee for a temporary period of three years.

Plans have been submitted to turn the top two decks of Pepper Street Car Park, Chester, into a food, drink and entertainment venue. -Credit:CheshireLive
Plans have been submitted to turn the top two decks of Pepper Street Car Park, Chester, into a food, drink and entertainment venue. -Credit:CheshireLive

"Save for the proposed retractable roof and relocated staff cycle store, the applicant has confirmed that in all other respects the proposal remains as considered under the previous application."

She concludes: "The proposed venue would be a novel addition to Chester City Centre’s entertainment provision and would contribute to Chester’s economy. It would provide twenty full-time and thirty part-time positions as well as employment during construction.

"It would utilise an underused space associated with anti-social behaviour and inappropriate gatherings. These matters weigh in favour of the proposal and are afforded moderate weight. There is an extant planning permission for the majority of what is proposed, and this is afforded significant positive weight.

"Matters relating to highway safety, cycle parking provision, ecology and the historic environment are acceptable through considered justification or have been resolved by condition. These matters have a neutral weight. Significant concerns have been raised regarding noise and disturbance from the venue and how it may affect the surrounding residential area for local residents.

"This matter weighs against the proposal, but is only assigned minimal weight given that the Environmental Protection Unit does not object subject to conditions including a temporary use. It is considered these factors can be mitigated so as to not result in a significant adverse impact on residential amenity and the mitigation proposed would be conditioned. However, a three year temporary permission is proposed in order to monitor and review this position and is proposed as a condition."

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