CHESTER’S £69 million Northgate Development is under review as the council admits the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis could “significantly” affect the long-awaited regeneration scheme.
The project to deliver a new cinema, market hall, restaurants, shops and office space to the city centre is one of a number of schemes in the borough which is to be reviewed to “consider the impact on potential costs and deliverability”.
Andrew Lewis, chief executive of Cheshire West and Chester Council, refers to a “commercially sensitive” update in a report to the cabinet where members will be asked to consider a different approach to the financing of the Northgate Development.
Back in December, councillors voted to approve a maximum budget of £69.6 million for the first phase – which also includes a multi-storey car park and improved public realm – with the council expecting to make £55.9 million of that back through rents.
Mr Lewis says the Ellesmere Port Hub scheme – a new public sector hub built on the site of the town’s bus station which will be relocated into state-of-the-art shelters along Civic Way – is at an advanced stage and should be “less adversely” affected compared to other projects.
He also reveals that the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis on Cheshire West and Chester Council is estimated to be £23.5m.
With an additional £18.9m of funding made available by the Government that leaves an estimated shortfall of around £4.6m in the current year, based on forecasts up to the end of June.
In his report to the cabinet, who will meet via videolink on May 13, Mr Lewis states: “Given the current climate the council will be undertaking a review of its entire capital programme to understand the potential impact of Covid-19…
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