350 New Homes Will be Built in Ellesmere Port

Ellesmere PortIn fantastic news for the surrounding area, it has been announced that multi million pound housing development on the edge of Ellesmere Port’s town centre have been approved.

The venture will see 300 new houses built in the quaint Cheshire region after planning permissions were granted. Situated on 29 acres of the former HH Robertson site on Cromwell Road, the emphasis will be on open space for the finished project.

Footpaths and cycle links will be created as well as more accessibility to the train station and the town centre. Trees will be planted, there will be a new avenue on Cromwell Road and the canal footpath will additionally be worked on to allow easier access to the local network of footpaths. Playing fields will also be improved thanks to a £262,000 cash injection from the developer.

St Modwen is the regeneration developer behind this ambitious new project in a move which could not only see housing rise sharply but could also bring in 700 construction jobs for the local area.
“We are delighted to have secured planning consent for the delivery of up to 350 much needed family homes.

“This will provide a significant contribution to the council’s supply of housing land and will regenerate a former brownfield site, delivering a sustainable, high-quality development. The scheme will be complemented by extensive areas of new open space, local transport and town centre access links. We hope that the development will act as a catalyst for the transformation of the wider area.”

As for the marketability of these new homes, it’s estimated that 25% of them will come under the ‘affordable’ bracket. The houses themselves will be a mix of 2 bedroom flats and 2 to 4 bedroom houses.

Councillor Brian Jones: “This is excellent news. That land has been empty for the last 17 years so I’m made up that something is being done with it. We need housing, and especially affordable housing, in the town.”

Preliminary work is expected to commence as early as next year.

Chester Zoo Voted Best Zoo in the UK

Chester ZooIn an announcement that will surprise no-one who’s had the pleasure of spending a day out there, Chester Zoo has been voted the best zoo throughout the whole country, beating out the likes of London Zoo!

11000 animals from all over the world call Chester Zoo home and a very good home at that, according to the report from TripAdvisor. After it was announced as the most popular zoo throughout Britain, this Cheshire zoo continues to go from strength to strength.

The 2014 Travellers’ Choice Awards have been a massive success for the zoo and was voted 2nd throughout Europe and 6th worldwide.

Jamie Christon, managing director of Chester Zoo said: “We’re absolutely delighted.

“Our sincere thanks go to every single person who has come here because, as a registered charity, their visits help us to carry out all of our vital conservation work – saving species from extinction both here in the UK and overseas.”

Marketing officer Julie Griffin also added:“This is the first time we’ve won this award and we’re very, very pleased indeed – particularly as it’s voted for by those working in the travel industry who have been to the zoo, experienced what we have to offer and cast their vote on the back of their visit.

“The zoo is constantly evolving and offering visitors something different to see and experience.”

The passionate zoologists have also been doing their bit overseas to help animals who may find themselves at risk of extinction in the sadly not too distant future. The Ecuador Amazon parrot was in jeopardy of disappearing altogether but now that the 10 representatives from the zoo personally identified the bird in South America, its status as endangered means it can now be properly monitored.

Also in 2014, the zoo have started the islands project; set to give visitors the chance to sample the ecosystems of the Philippines and Indonesia. The £30m venture will bring in a reported £.3m for the local economy, meaning that it will start turning a profit in just under 10 years.

With more announcements and advancements seemingly being made by the day at Chester Zoo, let’s hope that they keep the excellent momentum going.

Grosvenor Park to Be Opened Again by Duke of Westminster

Grosvenor ParkAfter restorations were finally completed, Grosvenor Park is all ready to be opened to the public once again and with the help of a very special guest.

The Duke of Westminster is set to unveil the restorations made to the historic site, a full 147 years after his great ancestor played a huge part in its initial opening way back in 1867. Richard, 2nd Marquess of Westminster, decided to donate 20 acres of his estate to Chester’s citizens so that they could use it as a public park.

Thanks to a big revamp, the park is now likely to be just as amazing as it was for visitors over a decade ago. The Duke will be there on Monday the 28th of July to do the honours after a £2.3m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund (BIG), more than £1m from council coffers and £30,000 from WREN has helped to reinvigorate the flagging landmark.

“I am delighted to be given this opportunity to open a revitalised Grosvenor Park,” he said.

“It is a vital and much-loved part of Chester city centre, and I am grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund, WREN and, of course, the council for providing the finds for such an important project.”

A café, public meeting rooms, a training and events pavilion, public toilets and a new natural play area are among some of the changes and additions made.

Cllr Stuart Parker, executive member for culture and economy, said: “The Marquess was many years ahead of his time in realising the value that parks would have for urban communities. Over the years his vision has given pleasure to millions of people.

“This programme of restoration will ensure that Grosvenor Park continues to occupy a special place in the life of Chester residents and a wonderful attraction for its visitors.”

No doubt the people of Chester will welcome the re-opening of one of their most iconic places and that it acts as a conduit for everything great in their city for the next 147 years!

“Grosvenor Park” by “www.flickr.com/photos/cezzie901″, license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

300 Jobs Created in Cheshire Car Plant

Vauxhall AstraGreat news for employment prospects in Cheshire as it’s been announced that a car production factory will be looking to take on hundreds of new employees in the near future.

The Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port is aiming to employ 300 new people and the company owned by the US’ General Motors are looking to expand for the first time in over a decade. Considering it was close to closing in 2012, this comes as great news for the area.

The increase is due to increased demand in volume for the Astra: the Vauxhall model that is exclusively produced at the Ellesmere Port location. Along with the Luton van manufacturing arm, 550 new staff will be hired in total and the those currently employed are essentially safeguarded due to recent success.

The all new Astra will begin production towards the end of 2015 and the plant will eventually be able to produce almost 200,000 vehicles per year in a project which has been subject to £125 million in investment.

After the announcement which will see new employees hired at the start of 2015, the chairman of Vauxhall, Tim Tozer, said: “This is great news for Vauxhall and for British manufacturing.

“Both of our UK manufacturing plants have won long contracts with all-new product and as the business strengthens, we now need to take on more people to build these exciting new Vauxhalls.”

Speaking in 2012 when the factory was posed with real jeopardy of closing down, Vince Cable said: “I personally have been to General Motors in the USA twice to plead the case with the top men in the company, to persuade them this was a very good place to be. Here they have a flexible plant and a co-operative Labour force.”

It’s an effort that looks like it’s definitely paid off as the future has never looked clearer for the plant and if it continues to experience success, don’t be surprised to see more jobs created locally too.

“Vauxhall Astra” by www.flickr.com/photos/adspackman, license: creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0

The Chester Arts Fair – Festival 2014

The Chester Arts Fair returns in 2014, showcasing some of the world’s most renowned artists – taking place at the fantastic Chester Racecourse venue. Past events have seen over 5000 visitors make their way to experience the phenomenal array of contemporary art over the course of an atmospheric autumn weekend in the height of November.

chester art fair

Image: flickr.com/burnaway

The standard of art on show at this event will be of extremely high quality, as previous years have welcomed work by Kelly Darlington (winner of UK’s best-selling published artist) as well as world famous sculptor Nick Elphick who was commissioned to sculpt the Olympians and the Queen for the Diamond Jubilee. The fair in the past has enjoyed a range of visual art, photography, sculpture, ceramics, glass work and much more that will, while upcoming fairs look to improve and build upon past success. More information will be revealed as the fair approaches, so keep a look out for further details.


Chester Racecourse function rooms play host to the arts fair.
Image: flickr.com/dm3photography

Chester Arts Fair hosts a range of international contemporary art including some of the most exciting work today. The fair will display a fantastic array of art, while offering a range of other interesting activities and entertainment including talks, commissions, film projects, presentations and viewings that will ensure that artists and visitors are able to interact with one another to engage the city in arts and culture, which will help form the path to the 2017 aim of gaining Chester the status of ‘City of Culture’.

A number of works are sold in a Charity Art Auction in support of Claire House Children’s Hospice as well as Chester Arts Foundation that supports Art across the educational sector where schools, colleges and universities reap benefits to move forward with their art projects and development.

The fair for 2014 is still under planning, however it worth remembering to stay ‘in the loop’ when it comes to finding out more and attending this event that always delivers. Hundreds of paintings, sculpture, glass, ceramics and original prints – all shown in a friendly and relaxed environment ensures that there is most definitely something for everyone!

Visitors to the area that don’t want to miss out on this fantastic event can check out the fantastic range of accommodation in Chester that come in a variety of types, so there is something suitable for everyone.

Event: November 2014

Chester Half Marathon Breaks Records

runIn bothersome climes and scorching sunlight, people from all over came to take part in one of the most successful Chester Marathon’s to date this weekend.

May 18th saw thousands of entrants into one of the North’s most popular endurance events with the 7000 strong attendees set a new record for entrants in the process. After 33 years of competition and many more miles ran, it’s another great accomplishment for this beloved event.

One of the hottest days of the year so far brought with plenty of athletes and amateur runners all eager to beat their personal bests or to take part in a charity run. One such professional athlete was Kenyan born Mohammed Abu-Rezeq, winner of last year’s contest who won this 2014’s edition and shaved a few minutes off his previous time.

“I led the race from start to finish and found it pretty comfortable as I’m familiar with the route after winning last year,“ he said.

“The weather was really warm, but the wind helped me get round in good time. This was the best time I’ve ever done in a UK race, and I’ll be back again next year to try to beat it again.”

Gemma Connolly of Runcorn completed the marathon as the first female to cross the line.

Charity runners were out in force and what a great effort they put in to raise money for worthwhile causes. Alder Hey Hospital, the Hospice of the Good Shepherd, Claire House Children’s Hospice, Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support were all represented at this year’s contest.

The 13.1 mile course however, didn’t come without its difficulties. In total, it’s estimated that 100 runners had to bow out thanks to the effects of the heat which reached 23C. Nobody was seriously harmed which was helped by the superb organisation of Active Events Leisure.

The full Chester Marathon returns this year on the 5th of October. If you missed the opportunity to enter the half-marathon, the full edition has spaces left but be sure to act fast to avoid disappointment.

“run” by www.flickr.com/photos/renneville, License: creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0

Baby Komodo Dragons Arrive at Chester Zoo

The Komodo DragonAs one of the best places for animals of all shapes and sizes to be conserved, protected and cared for, it should come as no surprise that Chester Zoo has jumped at the chance to take responsibility for three new baby Komodo dragons this month!

Each are just three month old females and can currently fit into the palm of your hand – quite the difference from their full-grown stage as adults! Komodo dragons are the largest lizards on the planet and are notorious for being fearsome predators so you’d expect the zookeepers to be appreciating the cuteness while it still lasts.

Originating from Colchester, the dragons will have to have constant care fed at least every four days so they grow into their full, formidable size. Komodo’s can live for up to 30 years with Jantan and Ora, current residents at Chester Zoo, being adults with a few years under their belts.

Dr Gerardo Garcia of Chester Zoo said: “Our feisty new trio may be small at the moment but they’ll soon grow into impressive young ladies.

“With them being just a few months old they are fed every four days, unlike our older dragons who currently feed every month. It’s really important that our keepers get to work closely with dragons of different ages as they are very, very different. The intensive care they give to these animals and all of the skills they learn working with them here, can be transferred to the field and could be crucial in terms of protecting them in the wild.”

This is just another step in the zoo’s initiative to raise the conservation profile for Komodo dragons. On the Indonesian isle of Flores, these magnificent animals are currently at an endangered status. By highlighting how important the dragons are to the local environment with security measures implemented to be maintained by the local people, Chester Zoo are doing more than most to preserve the future of these legendary lizards.

To offer support to Chester Zoo, please visit: www.chesterzoo.org/support-us

“The Komodo dragon” by www.flickr.com/photos/rachdian

License: creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Get to The Gathering in Chester this Weekend

ChesterBelieve it or not, summer is finally approaching and there’s one event that signifies this more than any other here in Chester and it is set for another fantastic year.

We are of course talking about the amazing ‘The Gathering’ on the 4th of May and it is all set to be as big a celebration of music and the arts that it has been for the past 6 years. This micro-festival has been making a bit of a richly-deserved name for itself with Chester city centre providing the perfect location for some (hopefully) sunny fun.

Situated in Rufus Court, The Gathering in 2014 can boast live bands, DJs as well as all the stalls and activities you could want to keep the children busy. Possibly the biggest name on the bill is Slim Boy Fat , a tribute act to Fat Boy Slim with sets from the likes of Blue Bottle Veins, Burning Out, Jed is Dead, Perseus, Veil, The Jigsaws, Washington Reed, Indigo Sky, Dead Pixels, Gary Edward Band, and Luke Cusato.

There will also be ever more events for kids than there were at 2013’s edition with them now catering to both youngsters and teenagers. Those with an eye for the creative may enjoy taking part in one of the great master classes and workshops that are going on throughout the day.

If your child has a passion for drama, dance, art, music and more then you are in luck as their will be many workshops across the occasion that will be available for free as it’s been provided by the Chester Council as a way of getting more young people involved in the community.

Minerva Arts representative Steph Brocken said: “The activities are really wide ranging – from visual arts to music to theatre and historical re-enactments. I think it is set to be a unique event; one of the most unusual packages of activity overall in the North West in 2014.”

So whichever art form is your favourite, you’re sure to find something you love at ‘The Gathering’ 2014 and perhaps a new passion for the kids to get involved with this May 4th.

“Chester bench” by www.flickr.com/photos/30661871@N03

License: creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0

Chester Racecourse Day Fixtures this May

Chester RacesThere are a few words and phrases that often come up when talking about Chester and of course one of them has to be ‘horse racing’. This is exactly what you can expect to enjoy this May in the Roman city on three great days of events.

Chester Raceourse is a meeting ground for the rich and famous who want an entertaining day out with patrons including the likes of Michael Own and other celebrated horse enthusiasts but this doesn’t mean that it’s an elitist venue – people of all ages are welcome!

There are fewer places better for racing than in Chester as the Racecourse is the destination for many events and races throughout the year with it even being more popular than some of the most renowned locations down south. That’s why the 7th, 8th and 9th of May are destined to be well attended ahead of the busier Summer schedule.

It’s not just racing that Chester Racecourse is noted for as it’s also widely recognised as being a great for all things polo. From professional matches to practice games, there’s something for everyone who loves the sport with the LDF International Polo Weekend also taking place this month on the 24th of May.

Also aside from the racing, you and friends and family can unwind at one of the many great restaurants and bars on-site at the Racecourse. With the choices that include the Final Furlong restaurant, The Finishing Post Bar, Turf Restaurant, The White Horse and also Restaurant 1539 (which comes with an envious panoramic view of the course itself), you wouldn’t be judged if you were to miss the racing altogether.

On the 7th of May, you can enjoy the Stan James Cup Day, on the 8th you can look forward to the Boodles Ladies Day and the 9th bring the Boodles City Day. For any more information on any of the events at Chester Raceourse this May, please contact: kpotempa@chester-races.com

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DSC_0032 by www.flickr.com/photos/mattcsims

License: creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0

Cheshire Falconry

Cheshire FalconryLove birds? Then you need to get yourself to the wonderful Cheshire Falconry and have a great day out with our feathered friends.

Animal preservation is important as birds’ habitats continue to be endangered so it’s great to see that the experts at Cheshire Falconry are fully devoted to housing and caring for over 60 birds of prey. It’s often believed that these large birds are scary and dangerous but after spending a session with these majestic birds, you’ll find them to be the exact opposite.

The falconry is open 7 days a week and is one of the most popular destinations for families, particularly during the school holidays. What you can get up to during your visit is up to you and you can stay away from the birds and marvel at them from afar or you can get up close and personal with them!

So, what species can you see at the falconry? All of the best of Britain and of course some majestic eagles. You can be in the company of one of these magical animals for as little as half an hour or six hours if you really want to appreciate them.

Even if it doesn’t sound quite like your thing, you can always buy a gift voucher for a loved one so they can spend some time at Cheshire Falconry. The lucky recipient then has the chance to book a session of their choice and could be the perfect birthday present.

The Cheshire Falconry also offers great open days to schools and can often even be found at local events and shows with the option to hire the guys out available to you and your business. Probably the most impressive thing that these birds have done is to be the ringbearer for a couple of weddings at the falconry in the past.

So, if you’re visiting Nantwich in the near future and want to get in touch with nature, there’s no better place to do it than at Cheshire Falconry.

Please visit: www.cheshirefalconry.com for full details and information.

“DSC_0156″ by www.flickr.com/photos/65224487@N05, License: creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0