Newcastle City Council Planning Committee has voted to approve the ambitious plans of Arena Racing Company (“ARC”) to transform Newcastle Racecourse (‘the Racecourse’) into a global sporting venue with the introduction of a new all-weather track.
The planning application for a new floodlit all-weather track, enhanced racing facilities and a glazed tiered restaurant was approved today by the Newcastle City Council Planning Committee. The strong backing of councillors, who voted unanimously for the proposals, comes after the scheme received pledges of support from the Newcastle business community, including the North East LEP and North East Chamber of Commerce.
Some minor planning issues remain subject to negotiation between the Racecourse and the Council, including an Estate Management Plan and a small number of family homes, which will be included in a second application in the coming weeks. Construction should begin later this year but is dependent on approval of the second application, along with the Racecourse receiving approval to host fixtures in 2015 from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).
Tony Kelly, ARC Managing Director said: “We welcome the Council’s approval of our application to convert part of Newcastle Racecourse into a floodlit all-weather venue.
“I would like to thank Newcastle City Council for the very supportive and pragmatic approach they have taken to this development, including the conditions attached to the approval which enable the investment to proceed.
“We look forward to continuing to engage with the BHA about bringing all-weather racing to Newcastle in 2015.”
David Williamson, Newcastle Racecourse Executive Director, said:
“This is an important first step towards delivering this ambitious and prestigious project for Newcastle. The racing facilities backed by councillors today would put our city firmly on the global stage, attracting new visitors and creating local jobs.
It has always been our intention to deliver high quality racing facilities as part of a wider plan to secure a bright future for High Gosforth Park Estate, including action to secure valuable heritage assets, protect wildlife and improve public access.
“These benefits will all be included in a further application, which will also include a small number of family homes within the Estate. If approved, this second application will then unlock the new investment which the council has backed today.
The upgraded racing facilities approved by the council would attract over 25,000 visitors, spending at least £1 million each year. The construction will see in the region of 250 temporary jobs created and a further 365 indirect jobs in the supply chain, with 2,500 hours of new work created in hospitality services each year thereafter.