Roadworks to install new security measures near Chester Racecourse have begun this week in the city centre.

A number of road closures are necessary for the anti-terrorism features to be implemented in time for the 2024 racing season, which begins with the Boodles May Festival on May 8.

The racecourse is working with Cheshire West and Chester Council on the installation of the new sockets on surrounding roads.

Work has started on city centre roads, with the timetable of works being as follows:

  • Black Friars: Ends 5 April
  • Grey Friars: Ends 5 April
  • City Walls Road: Start 8 April - Ends 12 April
  • Nuns Road: Start 9 April - Ends 20 April
  • Nicolas Street Mews: Start 11 April - Ends 20 April
  • Stanley Street: Start 12 April - Ends 20 April
  • New Crane Street: Start 22 April - Ends 3 May
  • Watergate Street: Start 22 April - Ends 3 May

Access will be maintained for residents of the respective streets.

On race and other event days, bollards will be placed into the sockets to support the necessary road closures.

It will result in the reduction of disruption to residents and motorists on event days, as the roads will need to be closed for a much shorter length of time than they are currently.

The bollards replace the hostile vehicle protection system (HVM) already in use by the racecourse, which involves much larger barriers spreading the width of the road being manually installed and removed each time.

'Less disruption during race events'

There is no intelligence to suggest that there is a specific threat posed to the racecourse. However, the vehicle security bollards will prevent a hostile vehicle or accidental vehicle from entering the crowded pedestrian areas. The bollards aim to protect the area from a vehicle as a weapon attack.

Vehicle security bollards have already been installed across Chester city centre to protect large crowds during public events and busy shopping days.

Councillor Karen Shore, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for environment, transport and highways, said: "Not only will the bollards protect racecourse visitors in crowded areas on race days, but they will mean road closures on race days can be implemented and removed much more quickly. So there will be less disruption in the city during race meetings.

"There will be some disruption with a number of road closures but the end result will mean smoother traffic movement in the city during race events."

Louise Stewart, Chester Race Company CEO, said: "Keeping our guests and the public safe is our number one priority. The installation of these sockets provides a more flexible, semi-permanent HVM security solution and reduces the significant time and impact that existing race day and event road closures have on the city and residents.

"We obviously recognise that there will be a little disruption to realise these long-term benefits, however we have worked closely with the council's highways team to ensure that all the necessary works are completed in the shortest possible timescale."

This installation will be completed by the council’s highways contractor, Colas, in partnership with Liverpool Civils. All costs for the project are being covered by Chester Racecourse.