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Green light for Chester Racecourse revamp

Plans for the £100 million redevelopment of Chester Racecourse in the UK have been approved.

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

After planning permission was refused, the racecourse spent a period of consultation addressing the key concerns raised by the Planning Committee.

An updated plan was submitted with the two key buildings in the development proposals combined into a new Conference Centre and Grandstand, located next to the Holiday Inn Express hotel and overlooking the racecourse.

The racecourse also withdrew its plan to build a multi-storey car park and to use Saddlery Way to access the Roodee on racedays.

In a further move, a large public lawn has been introduced in place of the Leverhulme Stand.

The lawn will extend from the County Stand to the new development and will become the focus for the revised scheme, drawing on the sustainability and benefits of green space within the plan and opening up views of the racecourse from Watergate and the City Walls.

Racecourse architects McGuirkWatson describe the new application as having these key elements:

  • Demolition of the Leverhulme Grandstand and removal of all car parking and ancillary buildings between the railway viaduct, Holiday Inn Express and the County Stand;
  • A new pedestrian zone for racegoers and the public will be created between the County Stand, viaduct and Holiday Inn Express;
  • A new Conference and Events Centre linked to a new Hospitality Grandstand is to be located between the Holiday Inn Express and the racecourse, with a service courtyard secluded between the two buildings.

Chester Race Company aims to complete the work in 2022.