Chester – The Big Conversation

An event organised by residents for residents


Thursday 5 October 2023
10am to 5pm
The County Long Room, Chester Racecourse, CH1 2LY

Conference Introduction:

The sustainable vibrancy of Chester is vital to the social and economic wellbeing of its residents, as it provides many of us with the building blocks for our lives—housing, public transport, green spaces, workspaces, public services, leisure opportunities. If our city becomes dilapidated, with poor housing and green spaces, limited public transport, public services, and leisure opportunities, it is inevitable that our wellbeing will suffer.

CRAG aims for Chester to be vibrant, with a plentiful supply of high-quality housing and green spaces, reliable and affordable public transport, and a wide range of public services, workspaces, and leisure opportunities.

The inaugural conference aims to spotlight the key issues and build-back options by sharing opportunities, and concerns, with an intensive focus on collaboration and debate with solution providers to collectively share best practice and map out a route which provides a quality city-centre environment that is cleaner, greener, fairer, more sustainable and better connected.

This event is being sponsored and hosted by Chester Race Company Limited

Conference Programme:

10:00 – 10:45hrs Arrival and Registration
Morning Coffee and Networking

10:45hrs Welcome to the Chester Racecourse
Louise Stewart, Chief Executive Officer, Chester Race Company Ltd

Conference Opening Remarks
Mike Hogg, Chair, CRAG

11:00hrs Keynote Address – My Vision and Aspirations for Chester
Samantha Dixon MBE, City of Chester MP

11:20hrs Conference Session 1 – Chester One City Plan
Introduction by CWaC Councillor Richard Beecham,
Leader’s Champion for the One City Plan

Making Chester
Andy Farrall, urban planner and Chair, Making Chester One City Plan

Stakeholder Engagement
Jane Makin, CWaC Senior Manager, Communities and Engagement and Chair,
Being in Chester One City Plan

Education at the Heart of our City
Una Meehan, Deputy Director of Partnerships, University of Chester

Panel discussion moderated by Samantha Dixon MBE, City of Chester MP

12:45hrs Lunch Break and Networking
Enjoy a hot buffet lunch served by Chester Race Company Ltd

14:00hrs Conference Session 2 – Chester a Safe Place to Live
Introduction by John Dwyer, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire

Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour
Chief Inspector Darren Griffiths, Chester City Police Divisional Commander
Cheshire Police

Keeping the Community Safe
James Morris, Chair, Community Safety Partnership and CWaC Senior Manager, Community Safety, Public Protection Service

City Centre Management
Paul Fielder, CWaC City Centre Manager

Panel discussion moderated by John Walker, Vice-Chair, CRAG

15:00hrs Afternoon Tea and Networking

15:30hrs Conference Session 3 – Our City, Our Future

Introduced by (TBC) CWaC

Investing in the City
Carl Critchlow, CEO or Neil Hardy, Chair, Chester Business Improvement District (BID)

What G.A.S. can do for You?
Tim Kenney, Chair, G.A.S.

Renaissance of the River and Chester Hydro-Hub
Niall MacFadyen, Chair, CHASE

Putting Chester on the Map
Colin Potts, Chair, Destination Chester

Panel discussion moderated by CWaC Councillor Katrina Kerr, City of Chester, and Garden Quarter Ward

17:00hrs Conference Closing Remarks
Mike Hogg, Chair, CRAG

Confirmed Speakers

Samantha Dixon MBE

Samantha Dixon MBE

City of Chester MP

John Dwyer

John Dwyer

Police and Crime Commissioner for Chester


Chester Race Company has kindly arranged for free conference attendee on-site parking on the County Long Room car-park which is immediately in front of the venue. Entrance is via the Racecourse parking entrance on New Crane Street, CH1 2LY.

Additionally, there is pay-for car-parking available in the immediate vicinity at the following:

  • CWaC Watergate Street, CH1 4JE (immediately opposite to racecourse entrance) or a short walk away at either:
  • Linenhall Car Park, entrance off Nicholas Street, CH1 2NX or at
  • New Market Car Park, Hunter Street, CH1 2AR.


The conference is free to attend – including complimentary morning coffee and afternoon tea – compliments of the Chester Race Company. A hot buffet lunch is available at £12 per head, which must be paid for at the time of registration.