Chester 'too reliant on cheap drinking', report finds

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image captionThe Urban Land Institute has toured Chester over the past week

Chester's economy is too reliant on excessive low-cost drinking, an independent report has found.

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) was invited by the council and local businesses to spend a week in Chester to advise on ways to develop the city.

They looked at all aspects of the city, including local heritage, tourism, commerce and the retail sector.

ULI researchers found Chester would benefit from becoming a more upmarket tourist destination.

Among the recommendations were converting the upper floors of the famous Chester Rows into a boutique hotel.

'Valuable city'

Alexandra Notay, from the ULI, said: "There has been a trend towards the night-time economy of bars and clubs and stag and hen dos.

"They generate revenue. There are lots of new hotels for the lower end of the market.

"But that makes it a real challenge to address the city centre issues for the rest of the community."

However Frank Marnell, of Chester Licensed Victuallers Association, said: "Chester is already a very valuable city.

"People who come back to Chester come back... because they love Chester and they love the heritage behind it."

He said changes could discourage visitors.

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