The overgrown area between Chester’s Roman Walls and the Shropshire Union Canal by King Charles Tower is to undergo a major facelift.
The £200,000 plan is led by Chester Renaissance and is funded from contributions made by developers of new buildings in the area.
It aims to decrease anti-social behaviour, open up views to Chester’s historic assets, improve access and create a place which people like to visit.
Work begins mid-March and includes the removal of mainly self-seeded, diseased, dead and dying trees and shrubs. Their removal will open up views to King Charles Tower and the City Walls from the Canal, Cow Lane Bridge and the new Bus Interchange. Bats will be encouraged to roost in the area by placing bat boxes within the large specimen trees that will be retained.
Later in the year, changes will be made to footpaths to make the space more welcoming and improve access between the Canal and the City Walls. New lighting will be installed and grassed areas created for informal use next to the canal.
This will result in better routes through the space linking down onto the canal towpath. Large trees near the Roman Wall will be retained and wild flower and bulb areas will attract wildlife.
The new lighting aims to improve safety and King Charles Tower itself will be illuminated in the evening, highlighting Chester’s Roman heritage. The new footpaths will enable residents and visitors to approach the Tower and learn more of its’ fascinating history.
This is the first part of the Waterways Strategy which was launched last year and will link up the Walls, the Shropshire Union Canal and Cow Lane Bridge. Chester’s comprehensive Waterways Strategy will maximise the potential of the waterways as economic and social assets of Chester.
Councillor Stuart Parker, Executive Member for Culture and Economy said: “I am delighted that work is to begin creating the first stage of the Waterways Strategy.
“We have been working with different groups including English Heritage and the Canal and River Trust to improve King Charles Tower Green.
“And the project will not only enhance this important setting for residents and our thousands of visitors, but also aims to reduce anti-social behaviour.
“The result will be the creation of a more attractive canal-side environment with enhanced sight lines to the Walls and King Charles Tower.”
Local Councillor Samantha Dixon, who is also a member of the Chester Renaissance Board, said: “This area has needed improvement for some time and the project will enhance an area which is currently unwelcoming.
“The aim is to turn what has been a dilapidated wooded area into an attractive public space.
“Consultation with the residents living next to this space has been an important part of the plan’s development. Their views about the green and the lighting, including the illumination of King Charles Tower, have been factored into the development of the scheme.”
The canal towpath will be closed at Cow Lane Bridge from mid-March for approximately three weeks while trees and shrubs are removed. The closure includes the staircase off the City Walls adjacent to King Charles Tower. The City Walls will remain open and access will be via the Cathedral staircase off Frodsham Street car park. The Council apologises for any inconvenience.