A £10 million transformation is to take place at the home of the Northumberland Plate Festival.
The owners of Newcastle Racecourse are bringing forward a £10m investment to transform the historic racetrack into a major global sporting venue.
Their proposals will see the course used for flat racing changed to an all-weather surface making it the only floodlit straight mile in the world.
These changes will, the courseowners say, enable it to host prestigious races and see them broadcast to aglobal audience.
Plans will allow Newcastle to be a venue for the All-Weather Championships that have recently been launched and which culminate in a showpiece £1m prize money raceday. The plans will build on Newcastle’s international profile and should attract further investment in the local area and create asignificant number of local jobs.
Racecourse executive director David Williamson said: “Newcastle Racecourse has a long, proud tradition and a floodlit all-weather track will cement our position as one of the pre-eminent racing and events venues in the UK. This is a unique opportunity to put Newcastle on the global stage and pull investment into our city.
“The racecourse enjoys strong connections within the community and we will work closely with our neighbours to make this project work. We look forward to welcoming residents to the exhibition and hearing their views of theproposals.”
Racecourse bosses said the famous Northumberland Plate race will stay on turf by using the jumps course but the other flat fixtures will be moved to the all-weather. With jumping unaffected by the plan, the course may even gain a few jump fixtures. Newcastle Racecourse, which is part of the Arena Racing Company (Arc), will be launching a major public consultation in the New Year to listen to the local community and gain feedback on the proposals.
A leaflet about the plans will be delivered to homes around the racecourse in January, ahead of a public display of the plans, the details of which will be publicised in the New Year.
A community information line for residents wishing to speak about the plans is now available from 9am to 5.30pm on 0844 556 3002.
Following the consultation a planning application will be submitted toNewcastle City Council.
Arc managing director Tony Kelly 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.”