ARC and Newcastle racecourse have today launched a wide ranging consultation program to consider the development of a Floodlit AW track at the popular North East venue.
It is hoped that a planning application for the scheme can be lodged by 31st January 2014 and if successful racing on the new surface would commence in 2015.
The current proposals are based around replacing the existing turf flat track with an all-weather surface that would incorporate the only Floodlit straight mile in the world.
The existing turf jumps track would be unaffected, although the flat race program if run on the all-weather would increase the scope for an additional number of jump fixtures to be staged. The development would still leave the track with an option to host its principal race, the John Smiths Northumberland Plate on a turf surface.
The proposals would also see much needed investment made at the track including a general upgrading of facilities and a new layout of the pre parade and saddling facilities.
This announcement coincides with the start of a wide ranging consultation period with local residents, businesses and stakeholders in and around the High Gosforth area. The track will be hosting a number of meetings where the proposals will be discussed and explained.
In addition the ARC executive will be consulting widely with interested stakeholders within British Racing, including the BHA with which ARC has had a number of initial discussions.
David Williamson, Executive Director at Newcastle Racecourse said "we are very excited by these proposals. We want to explain the benefits to the local community and Newcastle Racecourses" many supporters. We believe that should these plans proceed then they will enhance Newcastle Racecourse as one of the pre-eminent racing and events venue in the UK."
Tony Kelly, Managing Director at ARC said, "The development of an all-weather track in the north has long been an ambition of ours and this proposal would develop the best floodlit all-weather track in the world given the superb wide galloping track and our ability to incorporate a floodlit straight mile.
We have recently launched the ARC all-weather championship and that is an initial but very significant step in the move to improve the competitiveness and attractiveness of this important area of the sport. The increase in support and quality we have seen so far is extremely encouraging.
This track would fit superbly within the ARC all-weather Championship and would give us the ability to possibly share finals day with Lingfield Park.
We hope to lodge a planning application in early 2014 once we have completed our consultation exercise."