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York Racecourse to unveil new development
YORK Racecourse will next week unveil their biggest development since the construction of the £20 million Ebor Stand a decade ago.
A new weighing room, pre-parade ring and saddling boxes are part of a project which will take a number of years to complete and has been labelled at the Knavesmire track as a “significant investment”.
Racecourse chiefs are keeping tight-lipped about the exact nature and scale of the project, pending a series of exhibitions which will begin with a private viewing for local residents and amenity groups next Wednesday and will be subsequently open to the general public until Tuesday, November 13.
But, subject to a satisfactory consultation and being granted permission by City of York Council planners, the “exciting” plans will also involve a realignment of the existing northern perimeter wall.
James Brennan, the racecourse’s head of marketing and sponsorship, said the race committee wanted to “better meet the needs of world-class horses and those who look after them”.
The idea behind the development is to create an integrated area to comprise saddling boxes, pre-parade ring, parade ring, wash down area and a new weighing room.
The existing weighing room – a listed building which was opened in the early 20th Century – is one of the most distinctive at the racecourse with its 1960s-esque signage and wooden-panelled jockeys’ changing room.
The Press understands the building will be given a new use. A relocated weighing room could also solve the minor problem on busy racedays of jockeys and officials having to move through large crowds on their way to and from the parade ring.
The racecourse team stated they wanted to talk to “their home city” about the developments before submitting formal applications to planners.
Brennan added: “There will be new saddling boxes, a new pre-parade ring and a new weighing room.
“It is a significant investment and it will be the first time in nigh on 100 years that this end of the track has benefited from this kind of investment.
“The saddling boxes have stood there for quite a while, as has the pre-parade ring. The development would be phased over a number of years but we are keen not to prejudge the consultation or the planning process.”
Graham Orange, spokesman for Go Racing In Yorkshire, has spent three decades working from the current weighing room. He added: “Some of the greatest jockeys have passed through it.
“But things change and these plans have been mooted for some time. The question was where would it be?
“These are exciting times for the racecourse.
“York does a lot of work to benefit racegoers and professionals in the game. It is about maximising the facilities that they have there.”