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Chester Racecourse £100m redevelopment rejected

Chester racecourse plans Image copyright Chester Race Company
Image caption Councillors said the plans, including a large grandstand, would could obstruct the city's skyline

Plans for a £100m revamp of Chester Racecourse have been rejected after councillors decided the project could harm views of the historic city.

The scheme included a new six-storey grandstand, a 1,000-seat conference venue and multi-storey car park.

But councillors said the buildings would would "impact on important views and the historic skyline".

Chester Race Company said the plan would have "secured" the venue's status as "one of the top UK race courses".

Speaking ahead of the decision, the race company's Chris Clayton said: "The city stands to share in the benefits by making sure Chester continues to fulfil its potential as one of Europe's historic walled cities."

Chester claims to be the oldest course in England after the city first saw horse racing in the early 16th Century.

Image copyright Chester Race Company
Image caption Councillors rejected the race company's plans, although the conference centre alone could still go ahead

Cheshire West and Chester Council's planning committee said the "height, scale and massing of the proposed buildings would be overly dominant and incongruous in its setting".

They would also have an "unacceptable impact" on views from the city's ancient Roman walls.

Local resident Caroline O'Gorman told councillors she and 200 other residents of apartments next to the course would have faced a "severe detrimental impact" from the plans.

She said there would be extra pollution and noise, as well as obstruction to the residents' main access to the area.

Separate proposals to develop only the conference centre were deferred.

Chester councillor Jill Houlbrook said the venue was needed, adding: "We don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water."

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