A WOULD-BE cruise operator has been told to rethink an application amid fears of a major accident on the weir.

Chester River Boat Cruises's application to position a pontoon at The Groves was met with hostility by riverside businesses and residents.

Applicant Christopher Morris wanted to introduce a luxury 38ft cruiser carrying 12 passengers and employing up to five people.

Objectors had argued the position of the pontoon close to the Old Dee Bridge weir could be dangerous.

And Brian Clarke, owner of Bithell Boats, which runs four passenger cruises, says he has mooring rights at the application site.

Chester City Council planning officer Karan Warburton says she will be writing to Mr Morris to advise him to withdraw the application.

'Our main issue is safety because of the proximity of the cruiser's turning circles to the weir,' said Ms Warburton.

Mr Clarke said: 'I think the council are being very sensible, this was fraught with danger.

'The boat would have been very close to the weir when the river was in flood or when there were strong winds.

'There are other places upstream where he could position a pontoon.

'We have the mooring rights at the site and took legal advice, but we only use the area for servicing boats when water levels are low.'

Paul Eeles, who runs Chester Boat Hire, said: 'The site is closer to the weir than the 'Danger' sign so other river users might have presumed that going past the marker is safe.'

Janet Webb of City Walls said: 'I'm very pleased - this shows people can make a difference.

'I think we have got enough boats on the river.

'Things like this take away Chester's character, making it too tourist-orientated.'

The late Jackie Leech, Chester's 'swan lady', had warned the cruiser could disturb nesting swans.