A REPORT has revealed the true impact of Chester Racecourse on the city – both positive and negative.

It was commissioned by Cheshire West and Chester Council which has now resolved to set up a working group to monitor negative aspects more closely.

The probe looked at the effect the race course had on tourism, retail, residents, crime and the night time economy in 2016.

Compiled by independent consultants Amion, the findings include:

• Chester Race Company contributes £54.1 million per year to the local economy and supports 974 full time equivalent jobs.

• The races attract between 7,000 and 25,500 visitors per fixture with nearly half coming from within a 20-mile radius.

• Independent retailers reported concerns with reduced trade of up to 30 per cent on race Saturdays.

• Footfall analysis showed a small drop in people using the city centre on race days.

• The number of assaults recorded in Chester on race days was 36, compared to 33 on comparable non-race days, an increase of around 10 per cent.

• There is more litter before and after races, increased begging on the streets, increased noise levels from bars and increased waiting times for taxis on race days.

The new task force will include representatives from the council, Chester Race Company, CH1ChesterBID business group, and the police. The first meeting will be arranged next month.

CWaC says the group will work to “better understand the effects the races may have on shops, restaurants and bars”.

It will also “suggest ways to tackle antisocial behaviour and ensure training is improved for staff serving alcohol particularly on race days”.

Cllr Louise Gittins, cabinet member for communities and wellbeing, said: “This report helps us to understand the true economic impact of Chester Racecourse for residents, businesses and the many visitors to the city.

“The racecourse, which contributes to our local and the national economy, provides a number of actions to help with negative impacts including funding traffic management services on race days, providing portaloos and additional litter bins. Race Day Assistants are employed and cleaners on Nuns Road before and after races.

“Complete data relating to the negative impacts is not currently available or in existence and so the new joint group will be investigating how to gather this as recommended in the report.”

The racecourse, which is currently undergoing a £100 million redevelopment and makeover, is said to attract more than 300,000 visitors a year with a host of events.

Chief Executive of Chester Race Company, Richard Thomas said he was “delighted” with the findings of the study and was “enthusiastic” about working with the task group.

“The comprehensive report categorially shows that the direct financial impact on the city of Chester and surrounding area is considerable,” he said.

“We have recently revealed the detail behind our Masterplan 2018 and believe the financial commitment proposed by the Race Company, upwards of £100 million, will in time deliver even better returns for the local economy.

“We recognise some of the negative impacts felt from race days and we are enthusiastic about working together with the council and other stakeholders to proactively manage the impact and perception of race days on Chester into 2018 and beyond. The report has identified the levels of associated spend when racegoers visit the city and collectively we need to work to maximise the opportunities available, to deliver a rewarding experience, increase spend among visitors and encourage repeat visitation to the city.”