England

Chester Racecourse £100m redevelopment approved

Chester racecourse plans Image copyright Chester Race Company
Image caption The six-storey grandstand will be in a different place

Plans for a £100m revamp of Chester Racecourse have been approved.

Cheshire West and Chester councillors had rejected the initial plans in March saying the project could harm views of the city.

But the Chester Race Company has now moved the six-storey grandstand closer to a nearby hotel and changed its roof design to protect views. It also threw out plans for a multi-story car park.

Councillors unanimously approved the new-look scheme at Thursday's meeting.

Image copyright Chester Race Company
Image caption Councillors had said the original plans, including a large grandstand with a waved roof design, would obstruct the city's skyline

Project manager Chris Clayton told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the company had made "significant changes" and insisted the scheme - including a three-storey conference centre - was crucial to the future of the racecourse.

Planning officer Catherine Reay agreed that "great efforts have been made" to amend the original scheme.

'Oyster to pearl'

The new six-storey grandstand - which will replace the Leverhulme Stand - has been moved closer to the Holiday Inn, while its original waved roof design has been changed to protect local views.

A lawn called Paradise Square will be available for racegoers and the public on non-race days.

A criticised multi-storey car park has been removed and traffic will continue to use Kitchen Street, rather than Saddlery Way, following concerns from residents.

Conservative councillor Jill Houlbrook said the company had "not just paid lip service".

Labour councillor Samantha Dixon said: "If you provide a bit of grit you turn an oyster into a pearl.

"I think the grit that the planning committee put into this application has led to the racecourse upping its game and responding with a pearl."

The secretary of state for communities will be given an opportunity to make a final decision on the plans.

Chester Race Company aims to complete the work in 2022.

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