Solid buy-to-let returns in affluent Chester, the jewel of Cheshire
Cheshire West and Chester is located adjacent to north Wales and the Rivers Dee and Mersey. It is home to the largest canal boat collection in the world, and of course the Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet, which is the largest outlet village in the UK.
The borough encompasses the towns and cities of Malpas, Tarporley, Winsford, Northwich, Frodsham, Ellesmere Port and Chester, as well as their many surrounding villages.
The region was formed in 2009 by Government structural changes and replaced the boroughs of Ellesmere Port and Neston, Vale Royal and Chester District. The population of the region is said to have been just under 330,000 in the 2011 census. Ellesmere Port houses around 61,000 and Northwich has in the region of 20,000 inhabitants.
Connectivity with and throughout the region is excellent, with the motorway and other road and rail links, as well as air and seaports, all within easy reach.
The local property market is buoyant with the region’s prices at around 7.8% above the UK average, they are rising slowly in comparison with other areas of the UK, having risen by just 3% in the year to July 2016, and around 16.49% in the last five years. Chester itself has the highest property growth in the region, with price rises of around 3% in the last twelve months.
This could be attributed to the fact that demand for high quality, purpose-built student accommodation in the university city of Chester is huge. The University of Chester is expanding each year, which means demand for accommodation locally will realistically continue to rise.
North of Chester is Ellesmere Port, a large town and port just south of the Wirral on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal. As well as a service sector economy, the town has retained large industries including the Stanlow Oil refinery, the second largest industrial space in the UK, a chemical works and the Vauxhall Motors car factory, who are large employers.
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Another large employer is the Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet Village, located off the M53. This was the first designer outlet village in Europe and is the largest in the UK, covering some 31,000 square metres of retail floor-space, housing 145 stores, its own JobCentre Plus and retail training academy.
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Economy & Employment
The service sector, chemical industry, retail and manufacturing all pay a large part in the region’s economy.
As well as a service sector economy, the Cheshire West and Chester region has other large scale employers such as the Stanlow Oil refinery, a chemical works, the Vauxhall Motors car factory and the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Village, located off the M53.
The University of Chester has the 4th highest growth in Universities & Colleges Admissions Services (UCAS) applications this year, which is the highest in the north-west of England.
The financial time's newspaper reported that the student property sector was worth over £200 billion globally in 2004, and was growing faster than ever before.
Trinity Hall is the second phase of Chester Student Village, supplying the demand for high-quality student accommodation in the area. Currently, It can only offer accommodation to around 65% of first-year students and there is an urgent demand for at least two-thousand self-catered units.
Discover more with the full Cheshire West and Chester Property Investment Guide.
Several large scale regeneration projects are underway in the borough.
Northwich has £870,000 funding to conserve the town’s historic timber-framed buildings.
Plans for a state-of-the-art sports centre in Helsby have been approved. The development includes permission for the construction of 120 homes in the area, and a much-needed revamp.
Facilities will include a multi-use sports hall complete with an office for Helsby Parish Council, improved changing and function facilities, a 3G 11-aside football pitch, two bowling greens, four tennis courts and a running loop around the new pitch.
A new cultural centre will receive £600,000 over 3 years. This capital project, funded by Cheshire West and Chester Council with support from Arts Council England and MBNA is the largest cultural development under construction outside London.
The centre, housed in the renovated Odeon’s Grade II Art Deco building, will deliver a cultural hub fit for the 21st Century. It will offer a wide range of cultural activities including an 800-seat theatre, a 150 seat studio theatre, a 100 seat boutique cinema and a fully-integrated public lending library. Development work is already underway on the site, which is due to open in Q4 2016.
Air: The region is well served with Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport a little under ten miles away. Manchester International Airport is just under 30 miles away, and Blackpool Airport is a little further at just over 40 miles away.
Rail: Direct services to London from Chester take just over 2 hours with services to Liverpool taking 45minutes and Manchester 1 hour.
Road: The north-west of the region is served by the M53 and M56 Motorways as well as the A55. The east of the region is served by the M6 and M53 Motorways, providing excellent connectivity.
Bus: There are four Park and Ride sites to choose from (all have the Park Mark safer parking award) where you can park for free, before hopping on the bus to make the quick and easy trip. There is an over-height area at each Park and Ride site for motor-homes and larger vehicles. The four locations are at; Boughton Heath, Sealand Road, Upton and Wrexham Road. Buses run every 10 minutes at peak times and every 15 minutes off-peak.
There are more than 150 schools in the region, ranging from nursery through to secondary schools along with special and independent schools.
Notable schools include: The King’s School, located just outside the city, in Wrexham Road, Chester, was established back in 1541. This is an independent co-educational school catering for students of all ages. This well-performing school is currently ranked at number 218 in the leading schools in the country by Ofsted inspectors.
Further Education: The following colleges offer further education in the region, Mid Cheshire College, Reaseheath College, Sir John Deane’s College (sixth form) and West Cheshire College
Higher Education: Nearly 19,000 students attend the University of Chester, at its three campuses located in Chester and Warrington. The University offers a range of foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate courses, as well as undertaking academic research.
The university is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the Cathedrals Group, the North West Universities Association and Universities UK.
Shops & Leisure
Shopping & Dining: The region offers the latest stores in modern shopping malls and independent shops and boutiques in timbered buildings along cobbled streets. Chester itself has the Grosvenor Shopping Centre offering style and choice, while the Chester Market Hall offers fresh local produce and speciality foods. For designer, discounts drive less than ten miles to Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet offering more than 150 top name stores, while less than 25 miles away at Warrington, you’ll find the Golden Square Shopping Centre with about 140 top names in retail and fashion. Food-lovers will be well catered for with wine bars and bistros galore, all enjoyed in a unique atmosphere created by the delightful architecture contained within the region.
Sport & Culture: Chester is well preserved, with much of its history recorded at the Grosvenor Museum. It is home to many fine restaurants, bistros and pubs, a cinema and indoor and outdoor theatres. Chester also has its own famous racecourse and Zoo, and the River Dee is ideal for a relaxing boat trip. For sports fans, there are many clubs and facilities in the area.
Green Spaces: Cheshire West and Chester is a very green region, and its Council maintains six Nature Reserves within its boundaries. These include Burton Mill Wood, Helsby Quarry, Stanney Wood and Whitby Park, while the county’s largest area of woodland, Delamere Forest, offers walking, cycling and for youngsters, a ‘Go Ape’ experience.