One of the most prominent racecourses in the UK is set for major redevelopment as Jockey Club Racecourses (JCR) has announced a construction programme for Cheltenham.
The venue, which is home to the popular Cheltenham Festival every year, will benefit from a £45 million funding package which represents the largest single investment that has ever been bestowed by JCR. The money will go towards the creation of a new grandstand which will replace the 1920s 'A&R' block which houses the private box facilities, while the facilities for both jockeys, owners and trainers will be significantly upgraded. The Royal Box will also experience a raft of improvements in the coming years.
Officials explained that plans have already been outlined to Cheltenham Borough Council and have also unveiled architect impressions of what the finished structure will look like. JCR stated that the money will be raised through "commercially efficient methods" and details of this will be available to the public in due course.
A planning application will be submitted to the local authority later in April and construction is expected to take 22 months to complete. Work will begin after the 2014 Festival with the entire development due to be finished in time for the event in 2016.
Paul Fisher, group managing director of JCR, said: “Cheltenham Racecourse is not only one of The Jockey Club’s crown jewels, we recognise it is the home of Jump racing and one of the great theatres in British sport. It is vital we continue to invest in its appeal, the experience it offers and its success, for the good of British racing.”
Cheltenham holds one of the biggest dates of the racing calender with the Gold Cup being hosted at the racecourse every year. The 2013 event saw favourite Bobs Worth take home the title with trainer Nicky Henderson claiming a landmark triumph. Henderson scored his 50th Festival win after passing the all-time record for victories at the meeting in the previous year.
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