NOW you see it…. Now you don’t!

Chester’s Watergate Inn has been razed to the ground to make way for a new-look entrance to the racecourse.

It is part of Chester Race Company’s £100 million masterplan which will also see a three-level car park, 1,000-seat conference centre and new grandstand added to the site.

The pub, which stood alongside the racecourse entrance, was purchased by the company last May and was kept open as a meeting point for racegoers in the 2017 season.

But a planning application was then submitted to Cheshire West and Chester Council requesting its demolition to make way for a new public entrance to the County enclosure covered by a canopy.

The Watergate Square will be resurfaced and pedestrianised, with limited access for vehicles.

Long-serving landlord of the pub, Frank Marnell abandoned ship last summer having taken over the premises in 1992.

During his tenure, the Watergate Inn hosted meetings by the Chester and Wrexham branch of Amnesty International UK, the Labour Party and the Unite trade union. It also had a pensioners club on a Tuesday and a quiz night on a Wednesday.

Before he left, he told this newspaper: “There are lots and lots of fond memories. We were dwindling in customers, but the ones we did have were very, very good ones.”

Richard Thomas, chief executive officer of Chester Race Company, said: “Our Masterplan 2018 represents a substantial commitment to the development of the racecourse site and we can apportion many additional benefits from this planned investment to the city and our local community.”