Local councillors have rejected plans for a £100 million redevelopment of Chester Racecourse by nine votes to two after deciding the scheme would impact the city’s historic skyline.

The project included a 1,000-seat conference venue, six-storey grandstand, multi-storey car park, boutique hotel and expansion to the nearby Holiday Inn. Chris Clayton, Project Manager at Chester Race Company claimed the scheme would enhance the city, insisting the conference centre would allow Chester to compete with Manchester and Liverpool for major events.

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s (CWaC) planning committee overturned the recommendations of CWaC officers to approve the Chester Racecourse Redevelopment development, stating the “height, scale and massing of the proposed buildings would be overly dominant and incongruous in its setting.”

However, the board agreed to defer plans for the three-storey conference centre with councillors recognising the need to improve the city’s events infrastructure.

Councillor Razia Daniels said: “I agree that there is a need for conference facilities for our city and I welcome exciting projects like this which are important to the economy…I would like to see our city thrive and become a must-see destination for tourists to visit – but it must be done in the most sympathetic way, protecting our precious heritage.”