Chester-based social enterprise, Big Heritage, has secured the key to two famous Chester landmarks that have been left empty and unused for decades.
As part of a “groundbreaking” agreement with Chester West and Chester Council, Big Heritage has signed terms on a new three-year lease and will take over the management of the city’s famous Water Tower and Bonewaldesthorne’s Tower, based on Chester’s world famous Roman walls.
The deal will “breathe new life” into the 14th Century buildings and Big Heritage has ambitious – but yet under wraps – plans for the site.
Dean, who signed the deal of behalf of Big Heritage, has a copy of the original indenture of agreement between the then mayor of Chester and its citizens and John de Helpeston for the building of the New Tower, known more commonly as the Water Tower, for just £100. Helpeston led the building of the New Tower in 1322.
“These are buildings that have history literally dripping from every 14th Century nook and cranny”, said Dean Paton, Managing Director of Big Heritage. “Both the Water Tower and Bonewaldesthorne’s Tower are iconic landmarks, often missed by the public. They are buildings that have excited and inspired us for many years, so to have the keys - and to be shown faith by CWaC to create something incredibly special – is really exciting for all of us at Big Heritage.”
Councillor Louise Gittins, Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing at Cheshire West and Chester Council, added: “When Dean shared his vision for the towers with us, we were really excited. The plans Big Heritage have are incredible, so we’re delighted to be able to sign this ground breaking lease agreement. I can’t give much away now, but this will help breathe new life into the Tower and ensure it retains an important place in the hearts of the city for, we hope, many years to come.”
More will be revealed about Big Heritage’s plan for the towers in the summer. “We’re keeping our plans top secret for now” Dean added. “But I can confirm the towers will be reopened! In fact, I’m hoping that - over the summer - people will be, quite literally, sick to death of hearing about what we’re doing!”
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