Dee House Working Group discovers influence of national planning policy guidelines

9 April 2019 

The latest meeting of the Dee House Amphitheatre Working Group has learned more about the national and local planning framework and how it impacts on the building’s future. 
 
The working group is meeting monthly to hear evidence from experts in order to consider all options and reach a collective conclusion on the best future for the building. 
 
Recent meetings have focused on the archaeological and historical significance of the building, and the cost and challenge of gaining safe access to carry out a structural survey.
 
The group questioned Andrew Davidson of Historic England and Council officers from Planning and Conservation and Design at this month’s meeting. The officers offered a better understanding of the context of current national and local policy framework on the full range of possible future scenarios for the site. 
 
The Group received an update on Chester’s Heritage and Visual Arts Strategy, including its vision and principles. It learned more about the artefacts excavated from the Amphitheatre, which help tell the stories of Chester from 2,000 years of history.
 
Reverend David Chesters from St John’s Church also spoke to the group about its ambitious plans for the future, including the internal remodelling of the church and the enhanced display of its collection of Viking crosses. Rev Chesters welcomed the opportunity for St John’s Church to work closely with the Council and the working group in any future plans to regenerate the whole site. 
 
The Chair of the group Andy Foster, on behalf of the Chester Growth Partnership, said: “It is the role of this group to advise the Council on our preferred course of action for the future of Dee House and we will be considering all options. We want to ensure we have a full understanding of all influencing factors as we undertake this role.
 
“The information presented at this meeting will be essential as we move into the option appraisal stage.  We are keenly aware of the need to be guided by national policy. 
 
“The next meeting will draw the fact finding stage of our work programme to a conclusion. We will soon be announcing the date of a public event where we will share all the key information gathered as part of the fact finding stage of our work. ”
 
The working group membership includes representatives from the Chester Growth Partnership, Cheshire West and Chester Council members from across the political spectrum, the Chester Archaeological Society, Chester Civic Trust, Chester Attraction Partnership, , Big Heritage, Dig Up Deva, Roman Tours, a Chester University archaeological student,  Cheshire West and Chester Council officers, and Historic England in an advisory capacity.

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