Memorandum by Chester City Council (EVE
Partnership working in Chester is evolving an
integrated approach to enhancing the evening economy of the City
while making it a safer and more attractive place to visit, live,
work and enjoy. This paper outlines this approach as an input
into the Sub-committee's examination of this issue. This aims
to join up planning, development, housing, community safety, regeneration,
policing and cultural activities. This has been evolving over
the last two years and is culminating in the preparation of the
"Chester at Night Strategy". The partnership which is
exploring and developing these proposals are the Police, Chester
City Council, the Chester Community Safety Partnership, and Cheshire
County Council, but also includes Chester City Centre Management
and the City's Economic Task Force.
The basis of Chester's approach is:
1. CITY LIVING
Like most Cities Chester lost much of its residential
accommodation in the City Centre in favour of the suburbs. The
Council has turned this around via a planning strategy that focuses
the vast majority of new homes to be developed in the heart of
the city. Over the next 10 years over 3,000 additional homes will
be provided in the City Centre. This will mean that an additional
7,000 new residents will be living in the City's core, this will:
Increase the vitality and colour
of the City's streets.
Increase natural surveillance through
people living in the central streets.
Increase activity in the centreparticularly
in the quiet times between 5 pm and 7 pm.
Increase the sense of ownership of
the City streets by Chester residents and enhance civic pride.
Re-use under-utilised space for homeseg
living over the shop and using outmoded office buildings.
Further, the Council operates a policy of affordable
homes as a part of new residential developments in line with its
housing needs surveys. This means that there will be a mix of
tenures and people living in the City Centreproducing a
real mix of people and families. The Council is being successful
in achieving this policy.
2. URBAN RENAISSANCE
The City Council has adopted a strong urban
renaissance focus to its Development Planning. The Chester District
Local Plan is based upon a robust urban capacity study, which
is enabling the Council to deliver just under 80% of all new homes
on brown-field sites district wide. In the City itself this figure
is over 90%. This is also reflected in commercial, particularly
retail development. This is being achieved through:
Urban capacity research.
A strong package of regeneration
policies in the Local Plan.
Flexible and creative standards on
car parking, mixed use and density.
The use of Area Development Briefs
which are both promotional as well as focus on place creation.
The designation of a City Centre
Action Areawithin which most of the city's development
needs over the next nine years will be metThe Chester North
East Urban Action Area.
Working with the Highways Authority,
bus, train and taxi operators to create an effective public transport
framework for the City.
Through these policies the Council is achieving
very high densities in the City Centre, achieving mixed uses and
low car parking levels.
3. AREA DEVELOPMENT
The Council has produced an integrated set of
area development briefs covering the whole of its City Centre
regeneration areas and areas of change. These:
Focus on place creationso
they are not just about land allocation the also identify public
sector priorities for investment and action to enhance infrastructure
and enhance the public realm.
Have a strong community safety theme.
Create active street frontagesto
create vibrant, traditional and attractive streets that are owned,
have natural surveillance and are cared for.
Integrate planning, transport, economic
and cultural development and community safety.
Identify areas for evening and daytime
entertainment activitybars, restaurants, clubs and cultural
venuesto ensure that existing residents aren't affected
and the City's night time economy is reinforced in a balanced
Create foci for public transportto
ensure that activity in both the day and in the evening is well
These briefs are now being accompanied by associated
Action Programmes to co-ordinate public sector investment and
4. THE NORTHGATE
The City Council has established a successful
partnership with major commercial developer London and Amsterdam
to regenerate a large area of central Chester. The aim of this
scheme is to develop a large and complex mixed-use project of
shops and homes taking the form of traditional streets and spaces
in the heart of the City (not a closed shopping mall). This development
is unique as it is major but it is being designed to reflect Chester's
essential characteristics, albeit in a contemporary way. As part
of this development the City gains new homes in its heart, a new
performing art centre, new bus station, new library, new covered
market, attractive streets and spaces, bars, restaurants as well
as shops. The intention is that this imaginative scheme will be
a positive contribution to Chester's night time economy, it will
reinforce the City Centre as a destination for activity in both
in the day and in evening and will add to the vitality and colour
of the place and enhance civic pride.
5. LOCAL DISTINCTIVENESS
Local distinctiveness is what shapes the personality
of a place. It is the combination of characteristics and qualities
that combine to give a place its own particular identity and atmosphere
and provides its citizens with a sense of civic pride. Local distinctiveness
is about how a place looks and feels, its architecture and detail;
it's about people and the things they do; how they earn their
money and how they spend it; it might include customs and traditions,
events and attractions. Local distinctiveness is about the perception
of the people who work, live and visit a place. Chester has prepared
a local distinctiveness strategy, which reinforces the place in
the evening and ensures its long term economic competitiveness.
Community Safety identified as a key issue for
residents, visitors and the business community (Ref Community
Safety Audit2002). Active Partnerships established to address
actual incidence and perceptions of crime. (59% of residents unwilling/concerned
about visiting the City Centre at night/on weekends). Varied package
of responses initiated by the Community Safety Partnership.
Inner City Community Safety Task
Group (championed by private sector representative) with annual
Action Plan/Performance Targets.
Establishment of a Community Safety
Centre (within the Town Hall) to provide a City Centre Police
Station and promote joint working between community safety partners.
Developments of a comprehensive (£2
million) and sustainable CCTV system with 24 hour monitoring by
the City Council. (Fibre optic system and ducting owned by the
partnershiplimits prohibitive revenue operating costs.)
Centralised radio system (Co-sign)
linking varied public/private sector operations to Police operational
units via the CCTV command centre. Participants include, pub/shop
watch, Street Envoys, Street cleaners, bus and taxi operators.
The further development of Pub Watch
and, of formal training schemes for Door Supervisors.
The implementation of a Business
Improvement District (BID- pilot currently being processed) with
a specific/ single remit of addressing community safety issues.
The City Council with its partners has focused
strongly on improving the key streets and spaces in the City Centre,
Paving and making more pedestrian
friendly the main core streets and spaces.
The production and delivery of an
architectural lighting strategywhich is about community
safety as well as enhancing the beauty of the historic core of
Chester. The first phase of this is complete covering Chester's
Rows. The second phase, the City Walls, is presently being developed.
An extensive CCTV system covering
all City Centre streets and evening "hot-spots".
Promoting the increased use and,
animation and management of the City streets as venues for out
door events and activity. The "Chester Alfresco" initiative
has been successful in recapturing the City streets for everyoneparticularly
for eating and drinking.
A signage and interpretation policy
8. THE "CHESTER
In partnership with the Police the City Council
is developing a night time strategy. This is focusing on:
Establishing a clear policy on bars
and "super-pubs" and their locations.
of zones in the City Centre for different evening activitiescultural
venues, restaurant quarters, areas for pubs and bars etc. The
aim is to make the City Centre a place for everyone, reduce the
fear of crime and disorder, promote the City Core as a safe place,
separate activities which may conflict and enable the Police to
prioritise and target their activity and resources more effectively.
Promoting evening activity as an
essential part of Chester's economy but ensure that conflict is
minimised by careful spatial planning.
This strategy is grounded on joint research
between the City Council, the Police and the County Council using
GIS to correlate disorder incidents, locations of bars and other
destinations, food outlets (particularly late-night takeaways),
residential areas (new and existing), transport foci (including
car parks and taxis), etc. this strategy will become supplementary
planning guidance and therefore will be used to determine planning
applications and licensing applications for bars, clubs and other
evening activity proposals.
The City has a very strong, active and successful
Community Safety Partnership. This has been very successful in
delivering community safety projects such as the community safety
co-location centre and the innovative Chester CCTV system. It
has also been successful in working with bars and restaurants
and in promoting community safety in the City Centre. Other key
partnerships which are helping to shape the City's approach to
its evening economy are the Local Strategic Partnership, Chester
City Centre Management, Chester's Housing Partnership, the Chester
Economic Task Group and its Cultural partnerships and events and
Chester is taking an integrated up approach
to its evening economylinking together its planning, development,
housing, community safety and cultural activity. This is a partnership
approach and its Community Safety partnership is central to this.
The City Council does not see this as just a problem of drinking
and bars and pubs. It sees it as a wider issue of ensuring integrated
urban renaissanceinvolving enhancing and reinforcing City
living, raising civic pride, promoting more people and a greater
variety of people using the City Centre in the evening, community
safety in the broadest sense, enhancing the public realm, enhancing
the colour and activity in its streets and places, and minimising
potential conflict between evening activities and venues. It is
about real and active partnership working. This is culminating
in the current preparation of the Chester at Night Strategy, which
will further co-ordinate and reinforce this approach.
Should the Sub-committee require further information
on Chester's approach to urban renaissance and the evening economy,
this can easily be supplied.
Cll David Evans,
Economy Portfolio Holder
Chester City Council