New stand to be built at Wetherby Racecourse in 2016

15th October 2015

Wetherby Racecourse is delighted to announce an exciting £3.2-million investment plan for the replacement of the old Members’ Stand.

Originally known as the “Members’ Grandstand”, the building was opened in April, 1960, and it has served the racecourse and several generations of Wetherby racegoers admirably during its 55-year life-span.

The building has been used for many different purposes including the jockeys’ changing room and weighing room, the members’ restaurant and bars for both members and non-members.

It is currently home to one of the two betting shops at the racecourse, the owners and trainers bar and the paddock viewing gallery, as well as the press and media room. In addition, the judge’s box, photo-finish cameras and the racecourse commentator are all located on the roof.

Wetherby Racecourse strongly believes now is the right time to start a new chapter in its long history (founded in 1891), by replacing the Members’ Grandstand with a completely new and modern grandstand which will adjoin the Millennium Stand.

Proposals have been submitted to Leeds City Council for planning approval and, once permission has been granted, the redevelopment will ensure that Wetherby Racecourse becomes one of the premier sporting, leisure and business facilities in Yorkshire.

This is in keeping with racecourse’s policy of maintaining a regular programme of investment and improvement to the facilities and infrastructure, which has always been of upmost importance to the directors and shareholders.

This significant investment will deliver a building constructed as an extension to the western end of the Millennium Grandstand and the new facilities will include:

  • A spacious public bar on the ground floor, incorporating a new betting shop, two new public bar counters and more refreshment outlets, together with steppings and external viewing.
  • The first floor will provide an exclusive facility for owners and trainers. This will include a new eating area serving light bistro style food options, as well as a spacious bar facility. There will be balcony viewing of both the parade ring to the south and the final furlong and winning post to the north, as well as extensive panoramic views of the whole course. A new stewards’ room and press and media room facility will also be accommodated on this floor together with a new area where winning connections will be entertained after each race.
  • The second floor will consist of either an exclusive hospitality facility for larger private parties or a premium facility for Premier Enclosure racegoers providing unrivalled viewing of the whole racecourse as well as overlooking the finishing line, with the aim of producing one of the best sporting hospitality facilities within the region.
  • The top floor will provide essential accommodation for race meeting integrity services including the judge, the photo-finish facility, the side-on television/video camera positions and the racecourse commentator.

This redevelopment project will also offer a wonderful function space for non-raceday events including conferences, banquets and weddings, as well as improved landscaping between the grandstand extension and the parade ring.

The concept for the Millennium Stand extension has been brought together after an extensive period of consultation and impressive designs have been created by Yorkshire architects, Harris Irwin Associates, who are based in the Old Stables at Aske, Richmond, North Yorkshire.

It is the racecourse’s intention to carry out the construction of the new facility while continuing to stage its usual racing programme and without the need to transfer any fixtures to other racecourses on a temporary basis.

More details about the exact timeline for construction will be provided in due course once planning approval has been granted, but it is currently proposed that works will commence at the beginning of June, 2016, immediately after the staging of the Flat fixture on May 24, with a view to them being fully completed during the spring of 2017.

Jonjo Sanderson, Wetherby’s Chief Executive & Clerk of the Course, commented: “We hope that everyone involved with Wetherby Racecourse will agree that this impressive redevelopment project will complement the other areas of extensive modernisation that have taken place at the racecourse during the recent past and that it will create one of Yorkshire’s premier and more attractive sporting, leisure and business facilities.”

Wetherby’s 2015/16 Jump season gets underway tomorrow, Wednesday, October 14, with the annual Spinal Research Charity Raceday. The seven-race card runs from 2.10pm through to 5.25pm, with the feature contest being the £10,000 Bobby Renton Handicap Chase (3.50pm).

For more information, please contact, Jonjo Sanderson, Chief Executive & Clerk of the Course, Wetherby Racecourse & Conference Centre on 01937 543344 or 07831 437453.