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Best New Car Park: New Market Parking, Chester

British Parking Awards 2023

Mark Moran
01 October 2023
Ken Prior (ex-C&CW), Daniella Finlay and Mike Leader (C&CW) with Brannan Coady of YourParkingSpace (sponsor) and Mark Steel
New Market Parking
New Market Parking

 

The impressive New Market Parking is a contemporary gateway to the historic city of Chester. The car park provides essential accessibility and security for users and affords visitors with their first impression of both the Northgate development and the city.

Cheshire and Chester West Council’s flagship New Market Parking (NMP) was opened at the end of October 2022 and forms part of the £75m Northgate development phase one scheme in the heart of Chester’s city centre. Chester Northgate is a market and leisure destination, opened in late 2022 after over 30 years of planning.

The new car park replaces a 1960s car park that sat under the old market and Forum shopping centre. Being able to close the market car park has been a long-held ambition of the council. The NMP provides direct access into the new market hall as well as into Exchange Square and the Coachworks Arcade within the Northgate scheme.

A number of active travel options remain available to access Northgate including the free Shopper Hopper from the Bus Interchange at Gorse Stacks to Hunter Street, which links with all services including the park & ride network, plus there are over a 100 bike spaces.

The council’s construction partner for the scheme was Vinci Construction UK and the car park was designed by AHR. One of the biggest challenges they faced delivering the NMP has been protecting the site’s archaeology, which was once one of the largest Roman fortresses in Britain. Despite finding over 10,000 Roman artefacts, the works disturbed less than 3% of the archaeology, as the foundations were innovatively designed to let the car park ‘float’ above the archaeology.

The NMP provides 800-spaces across seven-levels. The structure is a mixture of steelwork and precast concrete, with the body of the parking decks fabricated in steel and the decks and circulation cores formed in concrete. Using prefabricated elements allowed for quick erection on site and, with early input from consultants, allowed components to be coordinated before reaching the site. Precast concrete cores provide inherent fire resistance, which avoids complex and labour-intensive fire encasements on site.

The external cladding is a mixture of solid panels, perforated panels, expanded mesh and, on the Western façade, a living wall to reflect the Welsh countryside beyond. Early-stage subcontractor input allowed the green wall components to be fully designed into the façade, with integrated channels in the façade framework for irrigation and drainage.

To improve visitor engagement, NMP’s stair cores have been decorated with artwork designed by Chester artist Graham Boyd, featuring murals celebrating 2,000 years of Chester’s history, with an online version for those unable to use the stairs.

Working closely with scheme architects AHR and local accessibility groups, the council ensured the NMP complied with all relevant standards and it was granted a Park Mark. It has clear signage, help points, colour-coded levels, lift access from street level into the site and all floors, comprehensive CCTV coverage and direct access into the new market hall next door. The NMP features a sprinkler system, a fire protection system designed to suppress and extinguish fires in parking structures.

Car park staff have a dedicated office space with toilets, CCTV and a security door by the car park entrance so customers can easily access help. Staff have received praise from customers for helping with flat batteries, punctures and accessing passes for the Cycle Hub.

PTU Team Manager
Luton Borough Council
Luton
£50,512 - £53,584 a year plus £3,203 car benefit allowance pro rata
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British Parking Awards 2024

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