A BUSINESSMAN has warned that racegoers will turn their back on Hexham Racecourse if it goes ahead with plans for wind turbines.
David Shiel, managing director of Explain Market Research in Newcastle, says he will pull out of hospitality at the picturesque hill-top course unless the turbines plan is abandoned.
The course, facing a major drop in Horse Racing Levy Board revenue, urgently needs to find other sources of income.
But Mr Shiel declared: “If wind turbines are put up, I would not go back to Hexham Racecourse again and I think a lot of other people, including potential sponsors, would not go back either.
“I have entertained clients and I have been entertained at Hexham but I would not wish to see turbines on what is a marvellous landscape.”
Racecourse chief executive Charles Enderby said: “First and foremost, this is not a knee-jerk reaction. Ever since the threat of Levy Board reductions came up 18 months ago, we have been investigating the ground.
“We have done substantial research with our racegoers and Mr Shiel is the first person to show his disapproval. The main concern for racegoers is that Hexham continues as a racecourse.
“It is important to find alternative forms of energy in their own right, and we do very much wish to set a lead to the racing industry as a whole by employing a responsible attitude to energy in the future.”
John Barker, of Whitfield, who is opposing the turbines plan, has written to three town councils, 11 parish councils, seven environment groups and Hexham MP Guy Opperman in a bid to build opposition to the turbine proposals.