Press release by Cheshire West and Chester Council
Significant progress has been made this week in Cheshire West and Chester Council’s efforts to redevelop Dee House.
Working with an award-winning conservation architect and a group of professional consultants, the council has applied for listed building consent to carry out improvements on the historic Chester site.
A decision will also be made at planning committee following consultation with heritage groups and other interest and statutory bodies.
If permission is given, it will mean the next stage of work can begin in autumn 2021.
This will result in safety improvements being made to the empty listed building which in turn will make the property more attractive as a future investment for developers.
Subject to obtaining consent, a tendering exercise will begin to seek a contractor to undertake the specialist design and construction work needed to safely stabilise the structure, removing some internal walls and supporting the external façade.
A soft market testing process is also being launched, identifying potential interest from developers in the property.
Cllr Louise Gittins, leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “Dee House is in a significant, central location in Chester and experts have told the working group that the building is an asset of historical importance.
“After hearing all the evidence over the course of a year, the working group’s recommendations to the council were that saving the building and improving the historical site on which it sits would be the best option, benefitting the people of Chester and visitors.
“The council supported these recommendations, is investing in the building’s future and this week we are seeing further progress being made on stabilising the site for future generations.”
The detailed report outlining the council’s application for listed building consent has been drawn up by a team of professional consultants who have been carefully analysing the building in recent months and planning for the detailed stabilisation work.
The application was put together by a team of professional consultants: structural engineers Ramboll, conservation architects Donald Insall Associates, quantity surveyor Thornton-Firkin LLP and construction, design and management advisor (CDMA) Keelagher Okey Klein.
The stabilisation work is in response to recommendations from the Dee House and Amphitheatre Working Group, which continues to meet monthly to oversee the plans for the building.
The plan is to redevelop the building using a public and private partnership, allowing community access, offering heritage interpretation, and bringing the building back into use.
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, a Chester University archaeological student, Cheshire West and Chester Council officers and Historic England in an advisory capacity.