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Held at Storyhouse, the University of Chester Business Advisory Council hosted the event, Black and White Chester, to explore how to future-proof the city as a leading destination in which to work, study and live in the 21st century.

Speakers included Professor Tim Wheeler, Vice-Chancellor of the University; Chris Matheson MP; Andrew Lewis, Chief Executive, Cheshire West and Chester Council;

Andy Foster from Andy Foster Architects; Cathy Parker, Professor of Retail and Marketing Enterprise at Manchester Metropolitan University; Tony Collier, the co-owner and Director of MBL Business and Tax Advisers Ltd and Dave Hazlehurst, a Partner at Ph.Creative, an employer brand and recruitment marketing agency.

The panel considered issues including the state of the city: the built environment; keeping graduates; what attracts businesses to a city and the future of retail.

Professor Chris Jones, Executive Dean of the University’s Business School, said: “I really enjoyed seeing first-hand the passion that so many influential people have for positive development in the region. The pride people feel in the Storyhouse success came across strongly. However, there is clearly a desire to build on that with more innovative community projects. I have every confidence in the role that Chester Business School can play in supporting that endeavour.”

Nick Hodson, Chair of the Business Advisory Council, said: “This event saw 120 people gather in Storyhouse to listen to a range of speakers and a debate concerning the future of Chester. The overwhelming feedback we received was that people have a huge appetite to understand what’s happening in our city, and a great desire to be actively involved.

“The challenge now, is to harness that appetite and desire into action, to respectfully ask the local authority to engage more with the local business community, and the wider community in general. Chester needs a ‘vision’ for the rest of the 21st Century, a ‘vision’ which combines contributions from all communities and groups who hold Chester dear to their hearts.”

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