The long running amphitheatre saga is back in the news after Cwac released the news that Dee House may be leased to developers on a 150 year lease. After weeks of social media comment and a petition led by local businessman Adam Dandy (signed by over 10,000 people) , Cestrians are invited to attend a public debate on the future of Dee House, atop the beloved amphitheatre. Chaired by Chris Matheson MP the event will take place at the town hall where the public can listen to both sides of the argument on the future of Dee House and the potential for excavation of the rest of the amphitheatre.
Chris Matheson MP said :
“I have watched the debate about Dee House with great interest. People from all sides have made passionate points and this has raised public awareness about heritage in our city – which can only be a good thing. Many residents have written to me to ask for my opinion and I can see there are strong arguments on both sides. That’s why I have used my position as the MP to invite all of the parties involved in this debate to come together and discuss it in a public forum. It is vitally important that residents, experts and campaigners get a chance to express their views and question each other’s opinions ahead of any formal council meeting where an interactive, panel-based, discussion of this nature would not be possible. That’s what this event is all about.”
Representatives from the Civic Trust and Chester Archaeological society have been invited, along with the #DigupDeva campaign. Already confirmed are Marketing Cheshire, and Chester Growth Partnership . Heading up the Dig up Deva campaign, Adam Dandy has argued for the run down Dee House to be delisted and demolished :
“It’s been left derelict for over 20 years now, it is described by most as an eyesore and the overwhelming majority of voters here in Chester want it demolished so that the Roman Amphitheatre can one day be uncovered and turned into the jewel in our crown here in Chester, a place for Cestrian’s to be proud of, I hope that it could even be rebuilt in parts to show what it used to look like!”
Opponents such as Dean Paton of BIG Heritage have argued that Dee House, important in its own right should be retained. He told this blog in June that,
“Everyone would love to see a full amphitheatre in all its glory.. it actually doesn’t exist. Most of what remains has long been destroyed though centuries of building and cellar digging. Excavating the tiny amount that remains would cost millions .”
350 free tickets will be available for the event, details here :
. Event and technical support for the event has been kindly provided by Chester Race Company and Storyhouse.