Chester pub submits plans for rooftop beer garden to compete with city venues

Plans have been lodged for a rooftop bar and beer garden at a historic Chester city centre pub. Both full and listed building consent applications have been submitted to Cheshire West and Chester Council by Ye Olde Kings Head in Lower Bridge Street.

The proposal for the Grade II*-listed building, dating back hundreds of years, include a new access staircase, external bar, timber pergola with retractable roof, and fixed seating and fencing. The pub does not currently have an outdoor drinking area.

The new beer garden would be constructed on top of an existing garage at the rear of the property. The pub says having an outdoor area is key to competing with other venues in the city.

READ MORE: Empty Chester city centre shop could be converted into new pub

In the planning application submitted on its behalf by JSA Design, it states: “The application is to form a roof beer garden. There is currently no external drinking/dining space, and following the recent global pandemic, it has highlighted how important external spaces are for the survival of the pub industry.

“Several of the neighbouring pubs/bar/hotels have provided a similar offer in the way of roof gardens/secret gardens, in order to provide an external solution for customers. We consider that the new external proposals are of modest size and style, and in forming a fence all the way around they will be out of sight at the rear of the premises and pose little impact to the surrounding area.

Ye Olde King's Head, Chester.
The bulging walls of Ye Olde King’s Head show their age.

“The improvement of this external garden area will only have a positive impact on the business. The works also have no impact on the main body of the building, so don’t affect the listed building status.”

It adds: “The external area will feature a layout of mixed fixed and loose seating and will be accessible from the new access stair from the internal up to the lower external yard, then a further external staircase up to the main roof garden. On the lower external yard area, the existing outbuilding will be formed into an external bar and a fence will be installed in order to create a service yard separate from the front of house garden, with fire escape gate.

“When looking at the immediate local beer garden offerings, including at Oddfellows and The Townhouse, both these sites include retractable roof solutions, external furniture and beer garden offerings to the rear of the properties that are near residents. These sites also sit within the same conservation area and have listed status, so have set a precedent in the area.”

The public has until April 30 to have their say on the plans.

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