Chester Racecourse July 2018 1

Chester Racecourse £100m masterplan refused

Against officer recommendation, Cheshire West & Chester’s planning committee has refused proposals for a major redevelopment of Chester Racecourse arguing the scheme would be “overly dominant and incongruous in its setting”.

The Chester Race Company had been looking to secure full planning permission for the demolition of the existing Leverhulme Stand, to be replaced by a six-storey pavilion grandstand; and a three-storey events building with undercroft parking.

The application also included outline consent for a three-storey car park; an extension to the Holiday Inn; and a boutique hotel and administration building, known as the Lane Building.

The 43,000 sq ft, six-storey grandstand was the centrepiece of the proposals, featuring a hospitality space, a bar/café on the ground floor, and a 400-cover restaurant on the first floor.

The upper levels were to host hospitality boxes of varying sizes, with capacity for between 60 and 20 people, while a VIP rooftop restaurant of 300 covers was planned for the roof. McGuirkWatson is the architect.

Despite officer recommendation, the planning committee decided to refuse the application, with dissenting voices coming from leader of the council Sam Dixon, who argued the new grandstand was “too tall and far too frilly”.

There had been objections to the scheme from Chester’s Civic Trust, which had been supportive of adding conferencing space at the racecourse but raised issues over the scheme’s size.

Ultimately, the committee rejected the plans stating the “height, scale and massing of the proposed buildings would be overly dominant and incongruous in its setting” and also raised concerns over the “unacceptable impact” on views from the city’s Roman walls.

A decision on developing the conference centre in isolation, rather than building out the full masterplan, was deferred.

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Probably should have instructed a planning consultant for a scheme of this scale rather than trying to do it themselves.

By Alan

CGI technology not reached Chester yet, then?

By Sceptical

Ridiculous – too tall and frilly, get a grip woman you’re supposed to be leader of the council, at least demonstrate an understanding of planning and urban design. Stop playing politics, Officers acknowledge the design and it conforms, the racecourse are a major contributor and investor in the Chester economy and I’m sure they are incredibly disappointed to be treated this way

By Oscar

Another unbelievable example of the Butcher, Baker and Candlestick maker flying in the face of recommendations from paid professional Officers – all at a cost to the Local Economy.

By David Sleath

I agree that this is far too overbearing and out of scale with its immediate surroundings. I understand that CGI technology is used by architects so such a facility might well be available if “Sceptical” would care to make enquiries of them. The view as provided is sufficient to give an impression of what it would have looked like. Whilst the race course brings in a lot of money to the Chester economy it does not mean that they are able to ride a coach and horses through the city and please themselves what they build and what it looks like. I am sure that there will be a compromise that will please the local authority.

By Nigel Bruce

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