The Jockey Club is investing £45 million into the next stage of development at its flagship Cheltenham Racecourse. Subject to planning permission, the proposed development will create a state of the art new grandstand in place of the circa 1920s ‘A&R’ block.
The new grandstand will house annual members’ facilities, general public viewing areas, private boxes and Royal Box facilities. The Jockey Club investment will include improvements for owners and trainers, and focus on enhancing the overall customer experience at the racecourse. The 2013 Cheltenham Festival, one of the UK’s major events, welcomed in excess of 235,000 people.
The Jockey Club Board commissioned a feasibility study into the proposed development at Cheltenham. With that completed and having now been presented with a robust business plan, a range of financing options and a carefully tested design, they had no hesitation in approving the project,
Paul Fisher, Group Managing Director of Jockey Club Racecourses said
The economy remains challenging, but we continue to grow our business successfully year-after-year, allowing us to invest more into our sport. We are contributing a record amount into prize money in 2013 from our own resources and that will remain a key area of focus for us. We propose to finance the development at Cheltenham through a range of commercially-sound methods, on which there will be more news in the coming weeks.
Provided planning permission for the proposed development at Cheltenham is achieved in time and the necessary financing is in place, the main development will begin immediately after the 2014 Festival with a scheduled completion date ahead of the 2016 Festival. During the construction period, Cheltenham would be able to continue staging its race programme as normal.
All of us at Cheltenham are delighted to be involved in this new iconic grandstand development, which will make a huge difference to the experience for many racegoers,
said Ian Renton, Cheltenham and the South West Regional Director of Jockey Club Racecourses.
Over the course of a successful 2013 Festival, we gathered customer feedback asking us to improve bar facilities, increase the number of toilets, provide further viewing opportunities of the racing and the parade ring and help improve circulation on the busiest days.
This new development will deliver all these enhancements as well as offering much improved facilities for Annual Members and Owners & Trainers, an excellent facility for our existing A&R boxholders, and new opportunities through additional hospitality areas and viewing boxes to generate revenue to reinvest into racing.
Robert Waley-Cohen, Chairman of Cheltenham Racecourse, added:
This development will enhance Cheltenham’s unique character and is the last part of the grandstand development that began 30 years ago. It focuses on two key objectives: maximising enjoyment of the horse and improving the overall Cheltenham experience for all racegoers.