12 October 2016
WYG’s planners, with Kier Construction, Cheshire West and Chester Council, and Bennetts Associates have won the prestigious Royal Town Planning Institute North West Award for Collaboration for their work on a new cultural centre in Chester.
Storyhouse, which will open in Spring 2017, will provide a flexible auditorium to house both touring and home-produced productions; a studio; the city’s new library; and an independent cinema; all under one roof. The world-class centre is located in Chester’s restored and extended Odeon cinema.
Led by Kier, the multi-disciplinary team for the project included WYG as well as architects Bennetts Associates, engineers, heritage and theatre consultants, working for client Cheshire West and Chester Council. Genuine collaboration, multi-disciplinary working and community engagement were key to the project’s success.
All parties collaborated closely with each other, the client, and numerous stakeholders and the proposed development emerged following close liaison with planning officers at the Council. The scheme received enormous support and the council’s planning committee unanimously approved the scheme.
Unusually, consultation with the local community has continued through the determination period and beyond. Events such as a day where local schoolchildren became mini archaeologists for the site demonstrate the project’s inclusivity and co-operation with a wide group of people.
Paul Shuker, WYG’s project manager for the scheme, said: “This was a very exciting project on which to work and we are extremely proud to have helped deliver such a successful and loved scheme that will be embraced by future communities. The award endorses WYG’s commitment to innovative and ‘real’ inclusive community stakeholder engagement.”
Justin Williams, Operations Manager, Kier Construction added: “Kier are proud to have played a part in such a collaborative planning process. All of the parties involved including the wider arts bodies and the public at the engagement meetings have arrived at the perfect solution for the scheme.”
Cheshire West and Chester Councillor Louise Gittins, Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing said: “I am delighted with this award, the judging panel noted the level of collaboration that had underpinned the project from the outset, from the way the public consultation was conducted with local residents, to the collaborative design process involving many different agencies, special interest groups and stakeholders.”
The team received the award at a dinner in Manchester on Friday.