Posted: Thu 16th Mar 2023

Chester Rows conservation plan launched to protect and enhance unique historic area

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Mar 16th, 2023

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Cheshire West and Chester Council has unveiled a new Conservation Management Plan for the iconic Chester Rows.

The local authority is working in collaboration with architectural consultants, Donald Insall Associates on the plan which aims to preserve the historic character of the area while providing clear guidance for property alterations and improvements.

Councillor Matt Bryan, Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning & Climate Emergency, described the plan as an essential tool for understanding the significance of the Rows and addressing the conservation challenges they face.

He said the plan will help coordinate the responsibilities of different Council areas in maintaining the area’s unique heritage.

Chester Rows, dating back to 1290 or earlier, are a one-of-a-kind historic site with a mix of architectural styles, including medieval and Victorian buildings.

The area’s preservation has been attributed to the city’s commitment to combining regeneration with conservation.

The Design Guide includes a shopfront quality grid, encouraging the retention of original historic shopfronts or the use of authentic reproductions that respect the overall building design.

It also provides guidance on improving shopfronts through design, colour, and materials.

Signage is another crucial aspect of Rows shopfronts. The guide highlights the importance of balancing adequate business signage with avoiding bland, corporate designs.

Factors such as the design, size, material, illumination, position, and cumulative effect of advertisements all play a role in their impact.

Councillor Bryan emphasised that the Design Guide will be used to shape the Rows’ development and serve as a resource for property owners and developers.


A trial of the guide will take place throughout the year, ensuring its accuracy and accessibility for all stakeholders, including tenants, owners, developers, and Council officers.

The Chester Rows Design Guide showcases examples of good practice, such as God’s Providence House on Watergate Street and 32 Bridge Street. Both properties feature traditional shopfronts, subtle signage, and inviting interiors.

As part of the Conservation Management Plan, a Rows Gazetteer has been introduced, providing information and improvement opportunities for all Rows properties via clickable maps.

Following the current trial period, an overarching summary document is scheduled for publication in 2024, consolidating the lessons learned and setting the course for the future conservation of Chester Rows.

The Chester Rows Design Guide, now available to the public, offers guidance for anyone seeking to modify or upgrade their Rows property, covering aspects such as shopfronts, signage, painting, and lighting.

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