The Chester City Walls and Towers Portico Project has won a major Planning and Conservation honour.
The judging panel made up of The Royal Town Planning Institute and Institute of Historic Building Conservation, said they were impressed by the Chester scheme.
Specialist Conservation Architects, Donald Insall Associates, were appointed by Cheshire West and Chester Council to repair the Towers and design new structures on the City Walls.
The project has successfully delivered their repair, protection and re-use with fresh materials and techniques, providing better access and new interpretation.
Chester’s City Walls and Towers are a great asset to the city’s visitor economy, which attracts around 3 million visitors each year.
The significance of the City Walls and Towers is recognised in its designation as a Scheduled Monument and Listed building status.
A complicated mix of conservation and innovation was undertaken by Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Historic Environment Team, Donald Insall Associates, Ramboll (Chester) UK and Grosvenor Construction.
The dramatic new interventions can be seen at key points along the Walls, such as the King Charles Tower, the Roodee and Morgan’s Mount.
Portico project has the aim of creating a European model that utilises the latest building techniques and materials to enhance how we experience, understand and enjoy our built heritage.
The project was successfully managed by Cheshire West and Chester Council and Chester Renaissance and made possible by PORTICO, an EU-funded partnership between the cities of Chester, Ghent, Cologne and Utrecht.
Each city has a rich archaeological heritage and PORTICO’s aim is to make this more accessible to everyone through innovative techniques and approaches.
The judging panel was “impressed with the careful attention paid to the design of all elements of the project, the innovative use of materials within a highly sensitive historic environment, and successful completion of the work on site – all in all, an excellent example of practical urban conservation.”
The project has both restored the wall’s fabric and introduced new shelters, seating and innovative interpretation at key points around the walls, and is a huge contribution to realise Chester’s aim to be a ‘must see’ European destination.
Councillor Stuart Parker, Executive Member for Culture and Economy said: “To win this award from the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Institute of Historic Building Conservation is an honour.
“It has been a real team effort and an excellent example of partnership working.”
Tony Barton, Chairman of Donald Insall Associates said “We are delighted that our Chester City Walls project has been recognised by the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Institute of Historic Building Conservation.
“The award recognises the key part that the City Walls plays in Chester and that even Scheduled Monuments can be changed and enhanced through good and appropriate modern design.”