High tech donation points on Chester ’s Roman walls remain ‘an aspiration’ so visitors can show their appreciation by making a voluntary contribution towards their upkeep.
In August 2016 Cheshire West and Chester Council claimed it was about to go live with contactless payment devices near the amphitheatre, King Charles’ Tower and Newgate Tower as part of a trial.
The pioneering initiative made local and national headlines but a quick recce revealed no such devices, leaving everyone scratching their heads.
Red-faced officials at Marketing Cheshire , who were also involved with the project at that stage, were forced to admit testing had revealed the proposed technology ‘wasn’t fit for purpose’.
Then last year CWaC revealed its ‘intention’ was to introduce a texting donation system (SMS) over the summer of 2017 with other alternatives being considered including web-based and contactless options.
Again nothing happened.
The council insists the project remains an ‘ambition’ and an ‘aspiration’ but issues around adopting the right technology are still being blamed for its non-implementation.
All donations would be ring-fenced to support the ongoing conservation and improvement of the City Walls .
The Walls are one of Chester’s main tourist attractions and are rated sixth most popular in the 106 things to do in Chester on TripAdvisor.
But their maintenance and upkeep costs the council £600,000 a year which is why the donation scheme was suggested although walking the walls would remain free and any donations would be voluntary.
Deputy council leader Cllr Louise Gittins said at the time the scheme was first mooted: “Chester’s Walls are one of the city’s most recognised and visited attractions, and so it is vital that we explore ways to enable us to maintain the significant levels of investment needed to ensure that they are well maintained and safe for the 2.5 million people that walk and enjoy them every year.
“We know there is an appetite to make a donation as our visitors have asked in the past however, the emphasis is for a donation only if they wish to do so.
“Asking visitors to donate is nothing new and increasingly commonplace amongst national museums and attractions.”