Free parking for the public and increased marketing for city centre businesses are part of a new package of measures designed to help boost the number of shoppers visiting Chester city centre on race day weekends.
CH1ChesterBID – the city’s Business Improvement District representing more than 500 city centre businesses – has been working with Chester Racecourse in a bid to drive more people into the city’s retail areas over racing weekends.
The initiative will see free parking being offered at Chester Racecourse every Sunday following a Saturday race day from 2017 onwards, and in the interim, free parking on the last Sunday of every month starting from this month (November 2016). CH1ChesterBID will also work with Chester Racecourse on joint marketing campaigns in 2017 that promote the city centre and local businesses to Chester Racecourse customers throughout the year and during events. This will include opportunities for local retailers to promote their products and services direct to racegoers via multimedia channels at the Racecourse and through face-to-face dialogue and activity at selected fixtures during the season.
Carl Critchlow, BID Manager at CH1ChesterBID, said: “Racedays are an important part Chester’s appeal as a visitor destination and they provide significant economic benefits to our city centre bars, restaurants and hotels, but some of our retailers have told us that trade can be slower for them when the races are on.
“From speaking to shoppers, we identified that the introduction of new parking offers would encourage many of them to visit the city centre on race weekends, which is why we’ve been working with Chester Racecourse to see what we can do to make that happen.
“We believe these new measures will help boost shopper footfall on our high street on race weekends by giving people a range of parking options to choose from, making it easier for them to come and enjoy their favourite city centre shops, bars and restaurants. By working closely with our city centre partners, we can implement changes that deliver real benefits for our city centre and we’re already exploring lots of other possibilities that will help us create a better city centre for everyone.”
Chief Executive of Chester Race Company; Richard Thomas added: “Chester has a proud tradition as a racing city and we are committed to ensuring our race events have a positive impact on the city. We were keen to progress with new initiatives into 2017 and more than happy to do this in conjunction with CH1ChesterBid when approached.
“Our car park is one of the biggest in the city so we hope the offer of free car parking will entice shoppers into the city centre on race day weekends. In addition, we’re also very pleased to be working closely with CH1ChesterBID on marketing campaigns and additional raceday opportunities for retailers that will promote a wide variety of city centre businesses and activity to our customers.
“Chester Racecourse is dedicated to ensuring the city of Chester benefits positively from the influx of footfall on racedays and has continually contributed both in revenue and action towards a variety of public service initiatives, including enhanced Community Safety Warden presence in the area, a Street Scene Cleaning Team, heightened Police presence during the evening on racedays and regular fundraising opportunities for local charities every raceday. These new initiatives are the next phase of our contribution and demonstrate our commitment to the city and collaborative working with key stake holders.”
The free car parking options will be in addition to existing Chester Racecourse schemes, which include free parking for the public at the Linenhall car park all day on Sundays and after 2pm during the rest of the week.
For more information about parking in Chester, visit http://www.experiencechester.co.uk/how-to-get-here