Chester's £40.5m theatre and culture complex revealed

Artist's impression of Chester theatre and culture complex The new venue will house theatres, cinemas, a bar, a cafe and a library

The first images of a new theatre and culture complex for Chester have been revealed by the city's council.

The planned £40.5m venue, to be built around the site of a former cinema in Northgate Street, will incorporate two theatres and the city's library.

Councillor Stuart Parker said the complex would "deliver significant community benefits".

The proposal for the venue will go before the council's executive for final approval on 5 September.

Artist's impression of Chester theatre and culture complex The complex will keep the former cinema's grade II listed frontage

The new building will incorporate two small studio cinemas, a cafe, a bar and public meeting rooms alongside the 800-seat and 200-seat theatres and the relocated library.

It will be built behind the existing grade II listed frontage of the former cinema and will see the demolition of the city's third tallest building, Commerce House.

The cinema was built in 1936 and closed in 2006.

The design has been put together by Bennetts Associates Architects, which was also responsible for renovating Stratford-upon-Avon's Royal Shakespeare Theatre in 2010.

Mr Parker said he was hopeful the venue would "act as a catalyst to drive economic regeneration".

"It is an absolutely essential element of the future cultural offer for this borough," he said.

He added if the complex received council approval, the demolition of Commerce House would "take place early next year" and the planned date for completing the build was March 2016.

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