Whether you think Chester’s amphitheatre is a potential world-class attraction or just ‘a hole in the ground’, the debate on digging it out rumbles on.
Chronicle readers have been sharing their views on the subject on our Facebook page.
Unfortunately it is not just a simple excavation case, as the grade-II listed Dee House stands above the site.
But the debate has reignited recently with a petition to uncover the amphitheatre reaching more than 5,000 signatures.
Cheshire West and Chester Council will decide on the future of Dee House in September after the Tory opposition ‘called in’ on its procurement.
Those in favour of digging saw it as a potential major tourism draw to the city.
'This is Chester's Roman heritage'
Susan Woolley said: “It would almost be a criminal act not to expose and preserve the amphitheatre.
“This is Chester’s Roman heritage, not that ugly Convent building which needs knocking down not turning into any other sort of building. Just for once CWaC do this right thing.”
Hev Aston said: “CWaC need to do the right thing here, demolish Dee House and unearth the other half of the amphitheatre.
“Think of the archeology and discoveries, it would be a major asset and draw to Chester.”
A fully revealed amphitheatre would certainly give Chester a unique attraciton.
Rachel Walker said: “There are hundreds of buildings like Dee House in the UK and just 2 amphitheatres. Get rid of that ugly abandoned building and let’s start making the most of our Roman heritage.
Paul Dudley posted: “Of course the rest of the amphitheatre should be uncovered. It would attract visitors into the city and bring money in.
“What is the point in trying renovate a building that is no longer needed and quite frankly looks an eyesore. Who cares if it’s listed? De-list it, pull it down and unearth this masterpiece.”
'Dee House deserves conservation'
On the other side of the argument, readers pointed out Dee House is protected in its own right and should not simply be cast aside.
Gary Duckers said: “Dee House is a listed building and deserves conservation. Little left of amphitheatre, based on trial excavations.
“If Dee House is knocked down and the legislation is denigrated then how many other buildings will suffer the same fate?”
Tom Hughes commented: “I’m for keeping Dee House. There’s lots more that could be made of the part excavated amphitheatre that isn’t done, for various reasons.
“Making the hole bigger and destroying a historic building in the process is not going to make it any more likely to have events in the amphitheatre.
“We should value what we’ve got.”
Some were less than impressed and did not really understand all the fuss.
Mike Hopwood said: “Chester amphitheatre is OK at best, but it wouldn’t make the top 100 of European and North African Roman attractions, so I don’t see the point of spending on it as I doubt very much it would attract many more visitors to the city.”
Of course, there were also some mischievous suggestions thrown into the mix.
John Mckay said: "Dismantle Dee House brick by brick and reassemble in the big space in the racecourse. I know someone who always takes a holiday to avoid the May meeting every year!”
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