An intensive four year project to revive and rebrand the Rows in Chester has moved a step closer after it became one of Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zones.

New funding will enable the historic area to be renovated and transformed, subject to completion of a programme design phase in January 2020.

Work will start in April 2020 and changes to the Rows will include:

  • Repairs to the infrastructure such as the walkways, walls, roofs and steps
  • Redecoration of the external main frontage, floor surfaces and shop fronts
  • Improving signage and interpretation
  • Improvements to the key stepped access points
  • Bringing empty units and upper floors back into use
  • Encouraging new occupancy
  • Rebranding the Rows and marketing them as a visitor destination

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of the Council, said: “Chester’s historic environment makes a significant contribution to the economy, employment and tourism of the city. Its unique historic character is of national and international significance.  The Rows are a stand out feature, synonymous with the city.

“Our successful bid for funding will mean that the Rows can be renovated, revived and rebranded for the future. The collaboration between the Council and key partners in Chester is a major reason for the success of this bid. We will now continue to work together over the next years to make the Rows a bigger asset than they are already. This project will provide new reasons to visit, dwell and invest in the Rows.”

Catherine Dewar, Regional Director in the North West for Historic England, said: “High streets are right at the heart of our communities. It’s fantastic news for the people and businesses of Chester that they will receive this boost to help them bring new life to this part of the town centre.

“Our high streets face many challenges, with some historic buildings underused or even empty, but with a little investment and imagination they can be transformed into vibrant places that attract new businesses and other new uses. Historic high streets have a crucial role to play in delivering economic growth and attractive environments in which we can live, work and play. Historic England is looking forward to working with the local communities on this exciting historic high street project.”

The project will be delivered by a strong partnership which consists of the Council, CH1 Chester Bid, University of Chester, Grosvenor Estate, Aberdeen Standard Investments, Big Heritage, Chester Civic Trust, Cheshire and Warrington LEP, Marketing Cheshire, Storyhouse, Visual Arts Forum, Chester Pride, Chester Cathedral, Chester Growth Partnership and Chester Arts Centre.