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Monday, May 10, 2004



AINTREE PLANS £30-MILLION REDEVELOPMENT OF RACECOURSE




Aintree Racecourse announced today plans for a thrilling £30-million redesign and redevelopment of the racecourse site over the next three years.

A planning application for the development was submitted on Wednesday, May 5, to Sefton Council. Plans are for the construction work to commence immediately following the 2005 Grand National and to be completed in time for the 2007 Grand National meeting.


The project, designed by Building Design Partnership, will see a radical redesign of the racecourse facilities.

The plans incorporate three main projects:

1) The building of new grandstands.


2) The re-location of the Parade Ring, Winner's and Unsaddling Enclosures plus construction of a new Weighing Room and Stable complex.


3) The building of a new permanent Aintree Pavilion.


Funding of the redevelopment will be from Aintree's own resources, The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) and other European and regional funding.



1) New Grandstands

Two new grandstands, build adjacent to the Queen Mother Stand, will be constructed in the form of identical facilities linked by a central walkway and twotiered bar areas.

Each grandstand will provide five tiers of premium viewing facilities. Terracing for 1,400 will be provided at ground level in each grandstand, as well as full bar, catering and betting facilities and a medical room. Situated on level 1 will be a restaurant for 640 diners, overlooking the racecourse. Seating will be provided for 790 at levels 2 and 4, with the addition of 32 disabled spaces and room for 32 disabled helpers. A further hospitality suite for 360 diners will be provided on level 3 with six private suites overlooking the racecourse on levels 4 and 5.


In total, this development of two new grandstands will accommodate additional viewing for 2,800 racegoers on steppings at the ground level, seating for an additional 1,580 plus 32 disabled spaces and helpers and permanent corporate hospitality facilities for 2,288.



2) The re-location of the Parade Ring, Winner's and Unsaddling Enclosures plus construction of a new Weighing Room and Stables

The second and most radical proposed change will be the re-location of the Parade Ring, Winner's and Unsaddling Enclosures, as well as the construction of a new Weighing Room and Stable complex. This project will also incorporate the building of a Pre-parade Ring, accessible to the general public. The Parade Ring, with an enlarged horse walk will ensure that all 40 horses for the Grand National can continue to be safely managed. This new facility will also allow for elevated viewing for up to 4,000 spectators. A new Winner's Enclosure will be sited within the Parade Ring complex, providing far greater capacity for viewing to racegoers.

The proposed glass fronted Weighing Room, which will be sited at the south end of the Parade Ring, will give vastly improved facilities for jockeys riding at Aintree. Within the changing area, there will be space for up to 80 male jockeys and within a separate room, space for 10 lady jockeys. An added benefit to the race-going public will be the visibility of the weighing scales within the new complex.


A fully integrated Media Centre, capable of hosting up to 150 members of the press, in addition to television and radio studios, will be located below the Weighing Room.

Further investment in equine facilities will include the building of a new Stable block, which will incorporate a state-of-the-art veterinary treatment facility and a modern dope testing unit. In addition, a new Pre-parade Ring will be constructed with 26 new saddling boxes built around the outside.


The existing Weighing Room area will remain but will be transformed into a historic raceday facility, available to the public at all race meetings.

A relocated and improved entrance to the racecourse will be created through Grand National Avenue, providing panoramic views of all of the grandstand areas and the new Parade Ring. The existing Parade Ring will become an entrance garden, available to all racegoers and will incorporate the existing statues of Red Rum and Sir Peter O'Sullevan CBE.



3) The building of a new permanent Aintree Pavilion

A new Aintree Pavilion will replicate the existing temporary structure in terms of capacity and facilities for Tattersalls customers. The structure will include full public bar, catering and betting facilities and will cater for up to 10,000 racegoers.

Timescale

The redevelopment will occur in two separate phases, either side of the 2006 Grand National meeting. The first phase will complete the Weighing Room, Parade Ring, Stables, Pre-parade Ring, Media Centre and Aintree Pavilion and the second phase will be the construction of the new grandstands.


All ground works will commence immediately following the 2005 Grand National and will include the foundations for the two grandstands. At this stage, the construction of the new Weighing Room and Media Centre will take place, with the objective of being completed before the 2006 Grand National. It is also intended that piling for the grandstands would also be completed at this stage and the area re-tarmaced over, to allow for the current temporary facilities to be built on this area for the Grand National meeting in 2006. Following the 2006 Grand National, the construction of the grandstands will commence and be completed in time for racing at the 2007 Grand National meeting.


Commenting at today's announcement, Charles Barnett, Managing Director of Aintree Racecourse said, "We have spent a great deal of time and effort evaluating how the racecourse facilities are used and have been working closely with BDP to enable us to redevelop the site, ensuring that we can deliver a truly world class experience for visitors to Aintree.


"At Aintree, one of our key priorities is equine welfare. The changes that are being made in terms of stabling and veterinary facilities will ensure that we continue to provide the best facilities available.


"We believe that the proposals that have been submitted will provide some of the best racecourse facilities in the world. It will also encompass the fantastic opportunities that lie ahead for the North West region and, in particular for Liverpool in 2008 with its title of European Capital of Culture. However, we need to ensure that the heritage and tradition of the Grand National is not forgotten in our plans for the future."

For more information, please contact Charles Barnett, Managing Director or Dickon White, Marketing Manager on tel: 0151 523 2600 or email dickon.white@rht.net.

For images of the redevelopment, please visit aintree.co.uk. Images can be located in News & Press / Media Images.


Quotes

Steve Broomhead, Chief Executive of the North West Development Agency
"The North West Development Agency is delighted to support this tremendous investment in one of the regions world-class sporting facilities. It will further enhance the image and profile of Merseyside and the North West and will attract more visitors, all helping to grow our regional economy."

John Halewood, Owner of 2004 Martell Cognac Grand National winner - Amberleigh House
"Aintree has always been a great favourite of mine and I am delighted to hear of their ambitious redevelopment plans. Increasing permanent grandstand capacity must be a good idea, as the Grand National meeting is so popular now and a larger Parade Ring and Unsaddling Enclosure will give more people the chance to see the horses in this area. It will make it easier for owners to see their unplaced horses after racing and it looks a very exciting development."

Nicky Henderson, Leading Jumps Trainer
"What has happened at Aintree over the last 20 years has been truly remarkable and the three-day Aintree National meeting now stands up as one of the great jumping festivals. The new plans look tremendous and further illustrate just how strong a commitment Aintree and Racecourse Holdings Trust have to jump racing. The new grandstands, Parade Ring and Winner's Enclosure will add even more to this spectacular occasion."

Carl Llewellyn, Winning Grand National Jockey 1992 and 1998
"Winning the National is the ultimate dream of every jump jockey and the atmosphere after the race is beyond belief. Aintree's new plans look very exciting and it will be great that thousands of racegoers will soon be able to enjoy and share that amazing moment as the winner enters the Enclosure."

Tony Goodhew, Director of Racecourse Licensing and Standards, The Jockey Club
"The new development at Aintree is a very exciting scheme. It will without doubt satisfy all of the requirements for the racing professional and ensure that the Grand National and all other race meetings at Aintree will be managed to the highest standards possible."

Richard Elsdon, Architect, Building Design Partnership
"Our design provides racegoers with state-of-the-art facilities which will enhance the strong traditions of this famous racecourse and provide a world-class setting for a world-class event."

Chris Brown, Director of Operations, The Mersey Partnership
"Aintree Racecourse is one of the region's top attractions and the Grand National one of the premier sporting events in the world. The planned expansion and development is fantastic news and will ensure that Merseyside is ready to welcome more visitors than ever before, generating more money for the local economy."

Graham Haywood, Chief Executive, Sefton Borough Council
"Sefton Council is delighted with this news. Aintree is one of the success stories within the borough and this future investment is great for everyone connected to our region."


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