It was announced on Thursday 19 July that Cheltenham Racecourse had received approval for planning permission of a £45 million redevelopment project. The approval was given to the racecourse by Cheltenham Borough Council after the Jockey’s Club worked on their plans to ensure that they would be accepted.
The aim is to improve the overall quality of Cheltenham, which is home to the world-famous Cheltenham Festival. Included amongst the planned changes are for a new spectator stand to be erected, new public viewing areas, private boxes and a revamped facilities area for annual members.
New Grandstand and Royal Box
The largest of the plans that have been proposed would be the grandstand. Once construction has been completed, there will be a new grandstand capable of holding 6,500 spectators. Also to be improved is the royal box, so as to provide the most regal surroundings for when any members of the royal family are in attendance.
Out of all the changes necessary, a new royal box is of the utmost importance. The current box was built more than sixty years ago, back in 1952, and not it has become quite dated. It is also intended that a further 55 boxes also be demolished so as to make way for new ones.
Construction to Commence in 2014
Planning has been carefully executed by the Jockey Club, with the organisation arranging for a bond scheme in anticipation of the upcoming works. The scheme was a resounding success by bringing in £25 worth of funds to contribute toward the works. Now the Jockey Club need only wait until it can proceed with the upcoming works.
Those works are scheduled to commence next year once the 2014 Cheltenham Festival has been hosted. They are not expected to be finished swiftly, with completion until before the 2016 Cheltenham Festival. In spite of all the works going on, Cheltenham Racecourse will still host its usual programme of racing.
A Necessary Upgrade
Ian Renton is the regional director of Cheltenham and South West for the Jockey Club. When asked to comment on the positive of outcome, he explained how delighted he was for the approval. More specifically, he felt that the improvements would maintain the quality of the event: ‘The new development will enable us to provide facilities for our racegoers in keeping with the quality of the National Hunt Racing on offer at Cheltenham. He also spoke of the importance of ensuring that Cheltenham could be viewed as a world-class racecourse on in to the future, so as to guarantee its legacy.
This has been wonderful news for the Jockey Club and caps off a successful planning journey that only began in April 2013. The speed with which the acceptance was achieved is certainly remarkable. It had been said before, during the 2013 Cheltenham Festival, that the facilities could do with an upgrade. Now all of those that spoke their minds on the matter will see their wishes come true in the coming future.