I think its the general passenger experience at Chester which is poor, particularly for a city centre station. It has an unkept feel. The access to the station is another matter, ive never found the walk an issue, time or length wise.
Trainspotting can be a problem at Acton Bridge for " us " passengers because the car park was reduced and is now tiny and so its full very quickly. Its a rural station so by definition its not going to be super busy, but lack of parking doesn't help as it puts passengers off.
I use Acton Bridge, its my closest station. what you have stated is a problem for me as I'm planning a trip to Edinburgh. I will probably end up driving in to Warrington BQ and parking the car there, which does add significant time and cost to the trip.