Part of Chester’s centuries-old Commonhall Street has stepped back in time with the instillation of cobbles and granite.
The street is named after the Common Hall of Pleas which was built in the 13th century. Its work moved to St Nicholas Chapel in the 16th century, but the name has remained.
Led by Chester Renaissance in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council, the scheme is part of a long term vision to create a vibrant ‘artisan quarter’ in the city centre street, identified in the One City Plan as a priority for development.
The proposal would see the area become a hub for small and starter businesses and a cultural living quarter.
Councillor Herbert Manley, Executive Member for Prosperity, said: “The plan has involved reconstructing Commonhall Street back to its original design.
“Old photographic images from the 1920s and a famous painting by artist Louise Rayner created in the 1880s provided the design guidance.
“The entrance to Commonhall Street from Bridge Street is now extremely pleasing and welcomed by local businesses.”
Rita Waters, Chief Executive of Chester Renaissance, said: “We are delighted that, following discussions with traders and businesses, these improvement works to the entrance of Commonhall Street will enhance the area and we hope will contribute positively to the trading environment of the area.”
Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Landscape Architect John Seiler has utilised existing kerbs and granite slabs, or wheelers, and new materials include British Yorkstone setts, Yorkstone paving and some additional granite slabs.
Timber heritage bollards have been put in place and Chester artist Neil Glendinning is incorporating the crests of Trade Guilds of the once Common Hall onto the bollards over the next six weeks. The six guilds, in order of precedence were Tanners, Bakers and Brewers, Barber-Surgeons, Merchant Drapers, Butchers and Goldsmiths.
Renowned designer Nick Munro, who has a studio in Commonhall Street, said: “The project is fantastic.
“It transforms a back alley into a real gateway to new business, culture and shopping activities and is a very intelligent ‘spend’ by the Council of an amount of money that gives the city the ‘big bang for the buck’.”