Speaker Meeting 20 July 2020
Andrew Bentley CEO of Storyhouse joined Chester Rotary to update members on the business and operations issues of Covid19 impacting on the Storyhouse Theatre. He also discussed the new Northgate Development project adjacent to the theatre and how the two facilities will compliment one another.
Andrew spoke about the support that the theatre had received via its recently launched membership programme and the importance of this income in keeping the Storyhouse operational.
The club was delighted that local Member of Parliament Mr Chris Mathesson, MP for Chester joined its early evening meeting to discuss developments in the city and how local and national business and economy were affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. The meeting also covered local issues such as changes in the City in respect of the new Northgate project and pressures on city centre retailers.
Andrew Arditti, Communications Manager joined the Rotary meeting to present and discuss the new £70m Northgate Development project. This included a new public square with market hall, cinema and restaurants. The project is set to open in early 2022, and will include:
- New public square accessed on foot via the central arch of the former library frontage
- Indoor market hall - relocated from the Forum
- Six-screen cinema
- Cafes and restaurants
- Co-working office spaces
- Multi-storey to replace the Market car park which will close once Northgate is complete
The council is working with its contractor Vinci Construction, to ensure the project is built following government guidance on social distancing and construction site working.
Chester Northgate is the most significant development in Chester for years and has been designed to transform the city’s historic core, supporting the whole city to thrive. It is the next phase in the regeneration of the entire Northgate area following the creation of the award-winning Storyhouse cultural centre in 2017
Speaker Meeting 20 September 2020
At our early evening meeting we were joined by two guests: Mr Mike Garratt and Mr Mike Hogg where they spoke about a community led initiative in Chester giving the city centre a cultural boost by converting vacant shop units into gallery spaces for local artists.
Place for the Arts in Chester (PACh) has opened the doors to its first ‘art hub’ on Bridge Street – PLACE 1 – and the team behind the newly-formed collective which has already opened a second space with more to follow.
Local businesses and organisations including ChesterBID, Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) are supporting the new not-for-profit, Community Interest Company, which is collaborating with local landlords to bring the scheme to life.
The ‘pop-up’ exhibition and studio spaces are designed to make Chester a more exciting and vibrant place for tourists and residents, offering more reasons for people to visit the city centre and support the local economy.
The shops sell a broad variety of original art, jewellery, ceramics, photographs, sculptures, and original art prints. Each shop will be managed through the Chester Art Centre but run by the artists themselves. Six local artists are involved in PLACE 1 who will all spend time in the store to talk to visitors about their work.