CHESTER Racecourse has responded to criticism over its call to the public not to watch tonight's fireworks show from the nearby Nuns Road.

This year's Lord Mayor's Fireworks Extravaganza will take place on Saturday, November 6, with gates opening from 5pm, the children's fireworks display happening at 6.45pm and the main fireworks show happening at 7.30pm.

The event has seen record demand on the racecourse site, with tickets selling out two weeks before the event.

In a statement, Chester Racecourse says it is urging members of the public not to watch the fireworks show from the adjoining Nuns Road, along the Chester City Walls, due to safety.

It said: "We have noticed some negativity around our advice to not view this weekend’s fireworks display from outside the racecourse and Nuns Road.

"We understand that for many, standing to watch the fireworks on Nuns Road is an annual tradition, and one we would normally support. ⁣

"However, this year we have seen an unprecedented demand for tickets, selling out two weeks before the event for the first time in the event’s history.

"The decision to stop selling tickets was to ensure the safety of our customers. Because of this, and because of many other local fireworks displays being cancelled, we expect more people to want to watch the display from outside the racecourse.

"As a local Chester organisation, it is our number one priority to keep people watching our display as safe as they can be, both inside and outside of the event. Therefore, we have put out a warning for members of the public not to congregate on Nuns Road and the surrounding areas.

"We would like to assure customers and the local community that this is not because we do not want people to enjoy the fireworks without paying for a ticket, but instead because we want to keep everyone safe.

"Rest assured, this a not-for-profit event that Chester Racecourse run in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council with all proceeds going to local charities."

A spokesman for Cheshire West Safety Advisory Group, which includes the Council, Cheshire Police and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are working closely with Chester Race Company to deliver a safe and enjoyable event this weekend.

"Our number one priority is always the safety of the public and given the cancellation of many local displays and the unprecedented demand for tickets, we remain concerned by the number of people expected on Nuns Road and the surrounding areas.

"Therefore, we support Chester Race Company in advising members of the public not to watch the fireworks display from Nuns Road and the City Walls.”⁣

Charles Barnett, Chief Executive Officer, Chester Race Company said: “Chester Race Company took over the running of this event from the Chester Lions to continue to provide the local community with an official annual fireworks display.

"We thoroughly enjoy hosting this event and always do so in the best interest of the public. Safety remains at the heart of everything that we do and the advice that we give is always led by the welfare of attendees.

“I would like to reiterate that this is a not-for-profit event and not a commercial endeavour for Chester Race Company, with all proceeds going to local charities.

"Our staff continue to work hard and volunteer their time to deliver a safe and enjoyable event for the local community.”⁣