Westminster Park Residents Association

Bringing our community alive

January 17, 2018
by Mary Pole

Gardening Club programme 2018

Winter and spring

Friday, 9 March 2018.

An Evening with Anne Swithinbank

The Burton & Rossett Horticultural Society is pleased to welcome horticulturist, broadcaster and writer, Anne Swithinbank as the special guest for March 2018. Anne is perhaps best known for her regular appearances on Gardeners’ Question Time, as well as presenting television programmes including The Gardens of the Caribbean and The Chelsea Flower Show on the BBC.

Anne will be giving her popular talk, “Grow Something Different — unusual plants to ring the changes and raise eyebrows, both edible and ornamental“. This will be followed by cheese and wine, and a Q&A session.

Tickets £15. Please book your tickets online this year: https://www.brhs.org.uk/anne/


Wednesday, 18 April at 8 pm. Spring Talk.

Edible Landscaping

Our speaker is Richard Smedley.

Richard is a social entrepreneur, currently helping charities and community groups with sustainable IT solutions. He is a certificated permaculture designer, former Garden Organic advisor, Prince 2 project manager, and trained in horticulture at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Community Centre. Tickets: £4 at the door.

Bar, light refreshments, plant and seed swap.

All WP residents welcome.


Wednesday, 16 May. Garden Visit.*

Bodnant Gardens

Bodnant Rd, Tal-y-cafn, Colwyn Bay LL28 5RE

With its hillside setting the garden’s 32 hectares (80 acres) drop dramatically from manicured lawns and grand, flower-filled terraces, through buzzing wildflower meadows and shrub-filled glades, into awe-inspiring dells of water gardens and towering trees.

Meet in the coffee shop by the main car park at

11 am. Entrance free for NT members, £13.20 for non members.


Tuesday, 24 July. Garden Visit.*

Bodrhyddan Hall

Dyserth Road, Clwyd LL18 5SB

Bodrhyddan Hall is a Grade I listed building and has been the home of Lord Langford and his family for over 500 years. Set in several acres of stunning formal gardens and reclaimed woodland, the house is one of the few remaining family-owned stately homes in Wales.

Meet at Bodrhyddan Hall at 2 pm for the audio guided tour of the gardens. Unfortunately the grounds have limited disabled access.

Cost: £4; £7 for combined Hall and Garden tour. Refreshments are available from the tea rooms.


Saturday, 11 August. Garden visit.*

Shrewsbury Flower Show
Quarry Lodge, Shrewsbury, SY1 1RN

The show is one of the country’s premier Flower Show events, attracting top exhibitors from all over the country.

Further details will be circulated in due course.

Advance tickets from £23 and available from



Wednesday, 10 October, 8 pm.

Autumn Talk.

Making the most of your garden space

Our speaker is Jane Allison. Jane is a former teacher who has exchanged teenagers for plants. She is a trained horticulturist who specialises in cottage garden perennials.

Community Centre. Tickets: £4 at the door.

Bar, light refreshments, plant and seed swap.

All WP residents welcome.

Bulb planting programme.

The Gardening Club will continue its programme of bulb planting throughout Westminster Park estate.

To date we have planted many thousands of daffodil bulbs and some 600 crocus corms throughout the Westminster Park estate. If you know of an area that would benefit from some spring colour, please let us know.

We will be looking for volunteers to help plant the bulbs during October.























January 10, 2018
by Jennifer Crew

Meet your MP advice surgery

Chris Matheson is holding a resident advice surgery at Westminster Park Community Centre, Five Ashes Road this Saturday 13th January 2018 from 9.30am to 10.30am.  No need to book, just go along.

If you are unable to make it, but would like his assistance, email or phone his office on:

T: 01244 343214

E: chris@chrismatheson.co.uk


January 10, 2018
by Dave Craggs

Grosvenor Bridge pavement works – from Monday 15 January

Hi all, Just received this:

Good afternoon everyone

Work is due to begin to upgrade the pavement on Grosvenor Bridge (Grosvenor Road), Chester on Monday 15 January from 7pm under an overnight working arrangement (until 6am).  The current paving slabs will be replaced with a more accessible, smooth tarmac surface.

These works, are due to be carried out in two separate schemes.

Phase 1 is the west side of the bridge (the Chester Racecourse side):

From the pedestrian walkway connection to Curzon Park, over the bridge and up to Nuns Road

This scheme is due to start on Monday 15 January for five or six nights, weather dependent, during night time working hours of 7pm to 6am only.

Traffic disruption:
·        No exit to traffic from Chester city centre.
·        In bound traffic will NOT be affected.
·        Pedestrian routes will be maintained both in/out of Chester.
·        During the daytime there will be no disruption with the road open as usual.
·        Both the Grosvenor roundabout and the Overleigh roundabout will be unaffected.
·        Right turn only out of Castle Drive at the junction with the A483 – no left turn will be available – during the works time only and reopened during the day.

Diversion route to exit Chester will be from Grosvenor roundabout via the Inner Ring Road to Fountains Roundabout and back to the Bars roundabout, follow the A51 Boughton to the A55, take the slip road off at the A483 Post House Roundabout back to Overleigh roundabout.

Phase 2 will be on the east side of the Bridge (Little Roodee side):

Roughly opposite the start location on Phase 1, across the bridge up to Castle Drive.

What and when:
A similar set up and timescale as Phase 1, however, dates are yet to be confirmed and more information will follow next week.

Best regards

Victoria Chowdhury DipRSA, DipM, MCIM
Communications and Marketing Co-ordinator – Place Operations
Cheshire West and Chester Council

December 8, 2017
by Jennifer Crew

Community Spirit lights up Westminster Park

The Lord Mayor of Chester, Razia Daniels, praised the residents of Westminster Park for their community spirit as she switched on their Christmas Lights at 5pm on Wednesday 6 December at Westminster Park shops.

Community Spirit is the theme of her year in office and, as the children at Belgrave Primary School arrived to sing carols, and residents young and old gathered to watch the lights come to life, she said that this was a fine example of just what she hoped to see in a local community.

The evening was rounded off by a visit from Santa, who listened to the children’s Christmas wishes and gave out sweets and satsumas.  Local shops generously donated hot dogs, fresh prawns, mince pies and mulled wine for the adults to sample.

The event was organised by Westminster Park Residents’ Association and was generously supported by Councillors Razia Daniels and Neil Sullivan, together with local shops: Bebbington’s Butchers, Bebbington & Williams Fishmongers, Francis Thomas Greengrocers and the Coop.

Photographs are courtesy of Anne Ord Sykes.

November 2, 2017
by Dave Craggs







Present:            90 persons as listed separately.


Pauline Brown opened the meeting and introduced Peter Cocker (ex Highways), Brian Westcott, Jennifer Crew from the WPRA WRD sub committee and Neil Sullivan, our local Councillor.


Brian Westcott chaired the meeting, almost exactly a year since the last public meeting(s).  The purpose of this meeting is to bring everyone up to date, which was advertised in the newsletter (sent to every house), website and noticeboards so everyone on WP should be informed.


The Council has produced a strategy which gave a figure of 5000 houses needed in the Chester area by 2030.  The land by Wrexham Road was redesignated from Green Belt so it can be built on.  The plan said that 830 houses could be built, the developers have put in an application for 1300, but have since moved the ‘mitigation area’ outside of this land and now plan to build 1450 houses.

The land is owned jointly by house builders Redrow and Taylor Wimpey. At the

present time an application has been received from Redrow for full permission to

build 509 houses plus an application for outline permission for a local centre to

include a primary school, health centre, shops, etc. An application from T-W is

expected but has not yet been received. Documents are available to view on the

Council website or in the Lache Library.

WPRA and our local councillors have studied the documents and discussed the

issues with the builders, council officers, Welsh Water and other parties. We accept

that planning permission for the development is likely to be approved eventually but

wish to influence the development in order to minimise adverse effects on the

quality of life of WP residents.


Changes from the original application that we have brought about so far are that there will be no vehicle access into Lache Lane.   Also the proposal that the Primary School would be built when the 800th house had been built has been brought forward to earlier in the scheme.


Objections/comments can be submitted to the Council.   WPRA are producing a submission on behalf of residents and a summary of this was circulated (also available on the wp-ra website).  This meeting is to let residents have their say to be included in the submission.


Six items have been identified to be commented on :

  • Transport
  • Numbers and types of dwelling
  • Drainage
  • Education
  • Health
  • Ecological mitigation 





  1. Transport: Peter Cocker commented on the plans.  Vectos are the Transport Consultant for the Developers who took the view that as traffic gets worse people will change their habits.  They have also assumed that three quarters of traffic will not be heading towards Chester.  This means that Highways England have to become involved as the A55 is a main Highway.  The Business Park and Kings School have also produced reports and employed consultants.  The Council are now employing new consultants.   The Vectos report is very detailed and lengthy with a lot of data, not all of it relevant.

How will this impact us – new lanes on the A55 at junctions, the three junctions onto the Development from Wrexham Road, the Overleigh Roundabout – where we do not want a ‘Hamburger roundabout’ as at Sainsbury’s.  There are some reasonable proposals for the roundabout, widening lanes etc.   However at the rush hour and particularly morning peak hours the traffic will still be held back by the Grosvenor Bridge.  We have no objections to the plans for the Overleigh Roundabout but point out that it will not help at peak hours.

What the Council should be doing is pushing for the Western Relief Road which has been talked about for many years.  The Business Park and the Park and Ride have been built in that time.   There is/was a protected line from Bumpers Lane but so much has changed since then and this protected line is no longer feasible.

In Part 2 of the Local Plan the Western Relief Road (WRR) is part of the medium to long term strategy and should be brought forward with funding from the Developers to help.  This may involve discussions with the Welsh Authorities as there is no doubt the development will go ahead.  The housing is planned up to 2030 but already time is passing.  There could be 12-14 years of construction.

Arriva buses have been in discussions to route the No 1 bus through the development but want to keep the link with the business park.  This means that there will be a stop on the WP side of Wrexham Road (though will be close to Kings School).

There is no magic solution and the developers and the Council do not offer one.  This is the item that most residents are most concerned about.

Ian Gilfoyle (ex Chester Planning) spoke and said that WPRA should object on the grounds of Traffic, being the main objection that could bring about refusal.

Someone asked if there had been any involvement with the MP for Wrexham as it will impact them.

Someone who lives on the West side of Wrexham Road and is a keen cyclist finds there are many times he cannot drive in.  However crossing Grosvenor Bridge on bicycles is very dangerous.

Brian commented that the Developers have suggested a cycling route via Handbridge which is a diversion.

Angela Reeves thanked the sub committee for their work and asked what is the structural capacity of the bridge.  There must be a formula for this calculation and how it will stand up to greater capacity.  This could possibly be used to increase leverage for the new WRR.

Neil Sulllivan said the Council employs a Bridge Engineer and he will contact him to see how Grosvenor Bridge is coping.

Colin Dollimore commented that the numbers of Council employees working in

Chester must be diminishing as they are moving to Ellesmere Port.





Neil Sullivan said that Peter’s comments on the WRR are up to date.  Plans have changed and there has been contact with the Welsh Assembly for a plan further into Wales and the long term safe guarded route has now been abandoned.

Part 1 of the Local Plan was for big strategic issues.

Part 2 of the Local Plan is now available to view on the Council website and includes  more detail about transport, WRR.   There is a high level of partnership working between Chester and the Welsh Assembly which could lead to a route which will help.  Policy T1 retains a commitment to produce a relief road.

A resident from Lache Lane said that the noise from the road surface is loud, also the bus up Lache Lane once an hour is not enough and the lights at the roundabout let too few cars through.

One comment said that access from the new estate onto Lache Lane could help those heading for Air Bus etc, but this was a minority view.

Someone asked if the trees in the roundabout would remain, we believe that the big trees will remain though some bushes may go if lanes are widened.

How was the 1200/1400 figure set?

Neil Sullivan reiterated that more housing was in the Local Plan and the Council redesignated the land and need to produce the number of houses in their plan.  The Phase 1 (Redrow) application is for 509 house.

If the housing needs are being met why are all these houses being built?

The Local Plan which has been passed is now a fact which takes us to 2030.  Even if there is a delay there will have to be another local plan and it could be that more houses will be needed in Chester.  Using delaying tactics could delay this being passed.  Putting conditions on the Developer is a way forward.

The worst thing that could happen is for the development to be refused as it would go to appeal and then go through.  It will go ahead as fast as the Developer can sell houses, possibly 100 a year?

If we get the conditions imposed we need to ensure the builders are kept to them.


  1. Numbers and types of dwelling: There has previously been a local demand for one-bedroom houses and bungalows.  Most houses in the plan are 3-4 bedroom houses.  The Grosvenor Estate say the affordable housing will be built at the end.

From 830 to 1400 houses, we will object on that basis.

Someone suggested that the Council should impose what houses are built when.

Neil Sullivan replied that Developers will plead poverty and try to persuade that the number of affordable houses are cut.

We need to make sure the mix is right.

Owen ? said that affordable housing is cheaper, maybe 60/80% of market value, but Milne Homes on Sherbourne Avenue appear only to be building big houses.

It has been checked that Milne Homes are building nine affordable homes.

Angela Reeves asked if there were any leasehold properties.  The builders have said no.

There is a demand for bungalows, older people have been encouraged to downsize but no bungalows are being built.

Mixed developments make for better communities.  Housing has to suit the needs of people at different stages in life and not become ghetto-ised.


  1. Drainage: Surface water – the Developers are building attenuating tanks to prevent flooding.




  1. Foul water/sewage – we have met with Welsh Water who say there is a need to upgrade the system and they will conduct a review of the whole area and this has been done. There are nine possible solutions and whichever is chosen needs to be implemented before construction starts.  Welsh Water consider these solutions are

There is a very high water table which is well known.  Thirty years ago promises were made which were not kept to.

Peter Cocker said that we need to see the proposals for surface and foul drainage.  We have been told of the attenuation tanks and oversized pipes but for foul water/sewage we have no details of any of the nine schemes and need to see the plans.   Welsh Water and the Council must be sure it will work.

The consultants walked through the site in summer 2015 which was very dry and commented that there were ‘no records of flooding in the area’ which was surprising.


  1. Education: The Developers provide the infrastructure for the school and the plan was that the school would be ready when the 800th house was built.  There has been a meeting with Christleton Education Trust who are interested in building and running the school.  They think they might be able to obtain funding from central government.  The school should be built sooner rather than later otherwise it will disrupt existing schools and add to traffic problems.

Tony Austin asked about capacity in existing local schools.  There are no places at Belgrave, some at the Lache school.  Queens Park (secondary school) has capacity at the moment.


  1. Health: The Developers have included provision of a health centre.  There is a meeting set up with the Health Authority and it would appear they want to build a big centre to replace all South Chester surgeries which if it is located on the development will add to the transport problems.


  1. Environmental Mitigation: Jennifer Crew said that there were two applications, one for the main housing estate, and another for the Ecological Mitigation area.  At present there are: six ponds on site which contain newts, toads, frogs and othr wildlife as well as trees with barn owls and bats.  All of these will have to move.  Ponds will be filled in and newts, toads etc moved to the Mitigation Area which was originally part to be part of the development site.  Now it would appear to be in a separate piece of land south of the site, straddling Lache Lane, thus allowing the developers to build another 100 houses on the main site.  This will also mean loss of foraging habitat for animals including the barn owls, as the area of mitigation is one sixth of the size of the current site.  Is this viable?  The right location?


Part of the Ecological Mitigation area is in the path of the proposed WRR.  The application number for this area is 17/02444/FUL.  Attendees were urged go make separate objections to this application.


Brian Westcott thanked everyone for attending and was very grateful for all the comments made which will help us build up our response.  He also urged as many as possible to send in individual submissions as the more comments there are make our voice better heard.