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What is a High Street Heritage Action Zone?

A successful bid has been made for Chester’s historic Rows to be part of the Government’s ‘High Street Heritage Action Zones’ initiative; this will revitalise 14 historic high streets across the North West, and more than 60 across England.

The £95 million government-funded programme is being delivered by Historic England. It aims to unlock the potential of high streets across England, fuelling economic, social and cultural recovery and to breathe new life into them for future generations.

With £1.08m of funding awarded, the High Street Heritage Action Zone will sit within Chester’s wider regeneration plan to bring vibrancy back to the heart of the city centre.

The HSHAZ Area

Chester’s High Street Heritage Action Zone is located around the historic Rows, aligning the four principal historic streets radiating from ‘The Cross’ – Bridge Street, Watergate Street, Northgate Street and Eastgate Street.  These streets have strongly influenced the form and layout of the city, and are a surviving element of the Roman fortress.

Our Objectives

  • Improve the physical appearance of the Rows by making permanent enhancements to repair and restore the historic fabric

  • Enhance knowledge and understanding of local heritage with businesses, residents and visitors

  • Support the local economy by helping local businesses to enhance their trading environment

  • Establish a heritage place-based approach to the engagement and reinvigorating of the Rows for the community to enhance their sense of value

Delivery Partners

The Chester Rows HSHAZ is a partnership programme with partners engaged through a Steering Group and various project delivery teams. Current partners include:

  • Cheshire West and Chester Council
  • Chester BID
  • Marketing Cheshire
  • University of Chester
  • Chester Civic Trust
  • Grosvenor Estates

The Projects


Rows Physical Improvements

A programme of improvements will be delivered to repair and enhance the physical fabric of the Rows resulting in a more attractive and usable space for the City. A new boutique hotel development will also transform a key vacant unit, driving vibrancy and activity back into the heart of the Rows.

     ⇒ Enabling Works have now begun

     ⇒Proposed Rows’ Paint Colours

     ⇒Rows Signboards

     ⇒Works programme approaching completion


We are working in partnership with Roman Tours and Heritage Works to bring the medieval history of Chester to life for visitors by providing animated, interactive costumed Medieval Meet & Greet sessions for the public. Those who want to delve deeper can join a full tour experience which brings to life the stories and history of the medieval period in the city.

Pop-up Uses

Place for Arts Chester aim to bring together artists and empty units to open temporary pop-up shops, bringing vibrancy and accessible art to the heart of the city centre.

Also, the Council Cultural Services Team are taking the lead on exciting pop-up activity on and around The Rows

⇒ Pop Up Uses







Community Engagement and Outreach

The HSHAZ Programme recognises the importance of people working in, living on, and visiting The Rows. We want to give opportunities for these different communities to engage in different ways with the heritage of The Rows. So far we have been supporting initiatives including podcasts and research into local business needs.

Shop Frontage Improvements

Improvements to a number of shop frontages on Watergate Street are currently at preparation stage, with the works to follow once all investigations are complete and consents in place. Not only will the individual properties be improved, but there will be a long-lasting impact on the quality of Chester’s historic built environment.

University Diversification

The University of Chester will undertake a project to look at the re-use of empty units in the City to create creative spaces and bring active uses into the city centre, for example through a journalism hub, community radio, pop-up recording studio and creative studios.

Business Guide and Education Programme

The Business Guide and Education Programme will provide advice, guidance and support to businesses on the Rows and will help bring the heritage value of the area to the fore.

Rows Revitalised

This project aims to highlight the distinctive and unique character of the Rows, bringing a spotlight to all that is being achieved through community engagement and awareness raising, including an annual programme of events and experiences.



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