CATHEDRAL PUBLIC REALM
11/04546/FUL Chester Cathedral: Phase 1 works including new Cathedral Square etc.
OBJECTION BY CHESTER CIVIC TRUST
20th OCTOBER 2011
Although there have been some improvements to the Cathedral Phase 1 proposals since their first appearance last year, Chester Civic Trust believes that fundamental issues raised in earlier observations have not been resolved. We are therefore forced to make the following objections to the current application:-
1. The illustrations recently published in the press show the Cathedral Square as a pedestrian area without vehicular traffic. This is seriously misleading. The scheme is still fatally undermined by having to accept the current traffic and parking arrangements in St Werburgh Street. The locality’s traffic flows and parking (including disabled parking) need to be resolved before a satisfactory solution can be reached (conflict with Chester District Local Plan Policy ENV10, Parking).
2. The treatment of the West Front of the Cathedral remains fundamentally flawed. The space between the Town Hall Square and the West Front is a square in its own right, not a road through to the main square round the corner. We cannot understand why a clear road line with granite setts has been introduced when everyone agrees the ultimate solution should be traffic-free (apart from local servicing). No convincing explanation has been given as to why this solution was adopted. Indeed, it has proved impossible to have any effective dialogue about this issue during the consultation process; points raised have been consistently ignored.
3. The ‘pinch point’ at the corner between the West and South Fronts remains unsatisfactory – even dangerous. Widening the pavement on the other, colonnaded, side of the road will force the traffic line across to this corner area.
4. It has become apparent that the potential removal of grass in the vicinity of the war memorial is widely disliked by the general public. It is a popular and well-used part of the existing area. The purpose of the large paved area has never been clear, and the consequent problems for the War Memorial remain unresolved. It may be open to disrespectful behaviour and might ultimately have to be protected. We think it will look stranded in a sterile paved space. There is conflict with policies ENV2 Respect for Surroundings, ENV3 Public Open Space and ENV6 Legibility.
5. The design of the fence bounding the path to the Kaleyards seems bizarre, out of character and susceptible to damage. It conflicts with policies ENV7 Regard for Historic Character and ENV47 Regard for Special Qualities.
6. We still fail to understand why the existing, natural, south-east pedestrian route from the Walls past the Bell Tower will be blocked off, thus reducing footfall and rendering the area a potential anti-social backwater at quieter times of the day. This conflicts with policy ENV11 Safe and Secure Environment. No convincing explanation has been given as to why this access will be removed. It has proved impossible to have any effective dialogue about this during the consultation process; the point has been steadfastly ignored.
7. Overall, we believe the proposals lack a feel for the city. They still bear the hallmarks of an externally-produced scheme that lacks overall unity and sensitivity to local character. These problems bring it into conflict with Local Plan Policies ENV2 Local Setting and Context, ENV7 Regard to Historic Character, ENV37 Development in Conservation Areas, ENV41 Very High Quality Design and ENV47 Regard for Special Qualities.
Click Final Presentation – Feb 24th To see Presentation Document.
Chester Civic Trust welcomes the opinions of others but no comments by the General Public posted on this website should be read as being endorsed by, or are supported by, the Chester Civic Trust unless specifically stated.