A partnership between Barclays Bank plc, Cheshire West and Chester Council and Chester Cathedral will see a major piece of the Cathedral’s architectural heritage return into the Cathedral’s care during the summer/autumn of 2023.
In 2021 the Cathedral initiated discussions with Barclays Bank and the local authority to investigate bringing the Cathedral corner currently occupied by the bank back into its care.
Despite its prominent location on St Werburgh Street, Chester Cathedral is difficult for city visitors and tourists to identify, with the Northgate frontage of the sandstone building strongly branded as Barclays Bank – the face of the building which faces Town Hall Square.
Not wishing to leave the city, Barclays Bank worked closely with the Cathedral and Cheshire West and Chester Council to identify new locations for the bank’s revitalised high-street banking offer. These plans are now in place, with Barclays relocating to the Forum on Northgate Street and a second site in Abbey Square.
Dean of Chester, the Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford notes “I’m delighted that the Board of Barclays Bank were so receptive to the idea of returning such an important element of the Cathedral’s fabric back into our care, and without any loss to the city – of service or employment.”
Redevelopment of the wing will be the focus of an £11m project at today’s prices – Project Discovery – which will seek to reconnect the Cathedral with the city centre and its communities, revealing the building and its contents to new and wider audiences and re-affirming it’s part in city life.
Joe Appleton, Customer Care Director for Barclays said: “By working collaboratively with Cheshire West and Cheshire Council and the Cathedral, Barclays has decided to re-locate from St Werburgh Street to two new prominent sites in the city centre that will continue to support customers with their banking needs whilst growing our local community presence.
“Barclays have operated in Chester for many years and as our customer needs evolve, it gives us the opportunity to reshape our physical branch offering to focus more on what our customers need today and in the future.
“No immediate action is required by Barclays customers and we will be in touch as soon as more details are available.”
Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “Chester Cathedral presents not only spectacular architecture but also forms part of the very history of the city that continues to place us on the world map.
“This move and huge investment into the city is the latest example of how Chester continues to build confidence and maintain its position as both a highly desirable area for residents and visitors alike. The Council is pleased to have played an important part in Barclays relocation to a prominent location that will help enliven Town Hall Square since the closure of the Forum shopping centre. I’d like to wish the best of success to both the Cathedral as it starts on its Project Discovery and to Barclays Bank as it moves to its new home.”
Work on Project Discovery is intended to commence in autumn 2023, and be substantially complete in 2028. Updates will be available on chestercathedral.com