CHESTER Racecourse's plans to extend the use of its summer 'tented village' on the Roodee until the end of the 2025 racing season have been approved.

Back in 2017, plans for a temporary site of marquees and hospitality chalets to be in place for the Chester Races seasons were given the go-ahead by Cheshire West and Chester Council. The plans were then granted a three-year extension in 2019, taking approval to the end of the 2022 season.

Chester Racecourse last month submitted plans to extend the permission for the tented village until the end of the 2025 racing season.

Chester Racecourses tented village.

Chester Racecourse's tented village.

The current permission is linked to the £100 million racecourse masterplan which was approved by councillors in August 2019 and formally granted outline planning consent in November 2020.

The masterplan, which includes a new Grandstand and a multi-use Events Building, also provides for the permanent relocation of the tented village to the north side of the racetrack.

The Race Company explained in its application that the extension of time for the temporary marquees consent is needed because of the two-year disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Chester Races were cancelled for the entire 2020 and most of the 2021 season and, in common with most other major leisure and hospitality venues, significant financial losses were incurred.

With the expected return to profitability this year, Chester Racecourse is now starting to plan for a first phase of its masterplan.

Chester Racecourse.

Chester Racecourse.

Speaking at the time the plans were lodged, Louise Stewart, CEO at Chester Racecourse, said: "We need this extra time while we recover from the serious financial impact of the pandemic, to start building up reserves for the masterplan investment, and to take stock of the lessons learnt during these last two years.

"We are also taking another look at some of the detail in our masterplan and expect to make some changes in response to the climate emergency. The delay is regrettable but unavoidable. However, we feel very positive about the future and need the time which this extra three years will give us."

A council planning officer's report, outlining why permission should be granted, said: "It is considered that in light of the impact of the pandemic on the deliverability of the masterplan development, special circumstances exist to allow for a longer time period for the retention of the structures in the context of the overall masterplan for the site."

The application was approved on condition the temporary site is dismantled permanently at the end of the 2025 racing season and that, as is the case currently, the site is dismantled during the off-season (ie between October and April).