Public Meeting – February 2015


The meeting was opened by Cllr Daniels who welcomed everyone introduced officers from Cheshire West and Chester

Mike Dix – Senior Manager

Ruth Wojtan – Project Manager

Jan Walters – Chester Locality Officer

Mike Dix gave a presentation on where the project was up to as of 25th February 2015.

Following the meeting Cllr Sullivan invited questions from the audience and the following concerns were raised and responded to by Mike Dix.

Concern Response
The site is mainly used by children so introducing adult activities could have implications. Will the premises have an alcohol licence? Who will manage the car park which is currently run by the school? Will the site be privately managed? When will it be open and close? Will opening times be restricted Will local residents be consulted? All of these concerns will be taken into account as the project progresses. Residents will be consulted and will have an opportunity to state their views as part of the planning process
There is a public right of way (PROW) from the Meadows to the Suspension Bridge. Will this remain in place? The PROW to be confirmed with relevant team within Cheshire West and Chester
If the new facility has four pontoons, there are concerns that children will use them to jump into the river. The number of pontoons has not yet been decided. However, this will be considered along with other safety issues as part of the planning process
It is not clear how much time will be given for consultation. This should be clearly set out at the start of the process. Time will be given to consultation with residents and local groups through a range of avenues including On line Further public meetings CW&C officers attending local group meetingsAs much time as is needed will be given to consultation. Consultation will also be part of the planning application
How can Officers be aware of residents’ views when they have not consulted? This meeting is to inform people where the project is up to and dispel any rumours. People’s views will be taken into consideration as the project is developed further. Residents will be kept informed and consulted as the scheme progresses.
Has the site been looked at by planners for constraints? The Council’s legal team has reviewed the scale and scope of legal constraints on the site but has not identified any obstacles to progressing the scheme to the next stage.
Is there a need for residents to form a new group to share information and co-ordinate the community’s response to the Council’s plans? Members from existing groups explained that they will take on this role. At this stage it did not seem necessary for an additional group to be formed. Cllrs also re-assured residents they would ensure their views are known. The sharing of personal information i.e. email addresses by CW&C is not permitted under the data protection act
How will this project be of benefit to The Meadows and be environmentally sustainable as there will be less green space for the residents of Chester? Consideration for the environment will be taken into account as the site is as designated Special Scientific Interest (SSI). There is a need to balance the potential benefits of the scheme to the wider community with the concerns of the groups who used the Meadows. The site does not encroach onto the main part of the Meadows.
Why could the site not be built up rather than out to protect as much green space as possible? Best use of the land is fundamental to the site.
Could the existing Royals site be used in conjunction with this site as a partnership? No one group has been given priority over any other group and the partnership is not solely with the Royals but any group that wishes to be taken into consideration and has come forward
Will Mike Dix be bringing his expertise on the Meadows site to this project? It was explained that Mike Dix had been instrumental in setting up the Friends of the Meadows group. This will allow him to be able to present a balanced view of the project with no conflict of interest
The land was gifted to the residents of Chester for recreational use and the building of a car park is totally wrong Parking and any constraints on the site will be taken into consideration as part of the business plan and planning application.
Have other locations been looked at? Yes, but there are very few locations on the river that provide safe and suitable access. Another location is being developed by the University. This site was deemed to be the most suitable
Has light pollution been considered Yes, this will be taken into account as part of the planning process

Next Steps

As the Steering Group continue to meet updates will be sent to anyone who has included their email address on the sign in sheet and to local resident groups for them to disseminate to their members

Officers are happy to attend resident group meetings if requested and time permits

Further meetings will be arranged when appropriate

Consultation will also be part of the planning application

The meeting was closed by Cllr Sullivan who thanked everyone for attending