Members of the public were invited to attend an exhibition at Chester Racecourse on Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 February, to view the detailed plans behind the Chester Race Company 2018 Masterplan.
Those interested, visited the Pavilion Suite at the racecourse to view a presentation setting out the £100,000,000 vision behind the plans, over the years to come. For those unable to attend, the detail is available to read in full here, with further visual context in the gallery below.
The broad aims of the plans are as follows:
- To secure Chester’s position as one of the UK’s top racecourses and to provide new and improved facilities for racegoers.
- To extend the racecourse estate with buildings which will attract events to Chester throughout the year.
- To design buildings and public spaces which will form a pleasant and safe connection between the city and the Old Port.
- To maintain the Race Company’s status as a major local company, employer and economic generator for the city.
The Masterplan, if approved, is capable of implementation in phases over a number of years.
The design of the Masterplan has several important and transforming elements:
- It forms both an extension westwards to the Racecourse as well as a new city district extending Watergate through to the Old Port Site. It transforms the presents gap sites (car parks) and hostile environment along New Crane Street creating a sequence of new buildings and linked urban spaces with active street frontages.
- It creates a complete pedestrian & cycle friendly district with two new squares (Watergate Square & Paradise Square) linked by a new lane on the line of the old Paradise Row, which leads down to a series of new course side lawns, for people to enjoy. These spaces are designed to take advantage of the day long sun path to create a sunny and warm environment as well as enjoying the wonderful views over the racecourse towards the river backdrop.
- The present racecourse buildings and enclosures are extended westward to the railway viaduct. This creates a new gateway for people entering the course. This dissipates the present crowd congestion, giving a more comfortable and enjoyable experience to the racing event.
- The new Events Building will offer a new destination within Chester for both city and regional events and conferences. It is set on three levels and its scale integrated into the backdrop of the viaduct. On race days it will house high quality hospitality reducing the presently housed in tented accommodations at the centre of the racecourse.
- The new Pavilion Grandstand forms a new gateway entrance to the racecourse with the Events Building. It forms a multi-level hospitality building for racedays which can be used for non raceday functions. It activates the present hostile environment of New Crane Street and is set on an axis through the Watergate Arch to the historic spire of Holy Trinity Church.
- A new three level car park is created on the site of the present surface car park at New Crane Street/Saddlery Way. This will replace the car spaces taken over the new buildings and pedestrian squares and lawns.
- A controlled car access will be allowed on normal days from New Crane Street adjacent to the new Pavilion Grandstand to access the White Horse Pub and the existing car parks in front of the County and Tattersalls stands.
- No vehicle access is allowed into the Masterplan area on race days offsetting the conflict of traffic, race going crowds and racecourse operations. Vehicular traffic entering the centre of the course will in future enter through Archway 20 from Saddlery Way.
Movement of People and Vehicles
- A complete sequence of pedestrian and cycle routes are created from the new Watergate Square to the Old Port Site.
- Future vehicle access from the New Crane Street/Saddlery Way junction serves cars to the new car park (320 cars), a new service vehicle access through Archway 8 and raceday (only) car access to the centre of the course car parks.
- On non racedays, a controlled access off New Crane Street will serve a car drop off to the hotel, cars accessing the existing car parks in from of the County and Tattersalls Stands, as well as cars crossing he course to The White Horse Pub.
In conclusion, the 2018 Masterplan looks to create both a sensitive and innovative extension to the racecourse and also to create a new city district regenerating the ‘no man’s land’ of the present site. It creates future building for the racecourse and future buildings that will benefit the City of Chester and its place in the region.