Cheltenham unveil big plans
Plans for a major redevelopment of Cheltenham racecourse are set to be submitted next year.
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It is a time for change at National Hunt racing's flagship course, with long-standing leader Edward Gillespie stepping aside for Ian Renton, recently appointed the regional director of Jockey Club Racecourses for Cheltenham and the South West.
Gillespie, who is helping Renton to settle into his role, said: "We are very much on track for the progress of the development plans.
"We have been working on the feasibility study, which is being converted into a design for submission to planning sometime next year.
"We have appointed a design team and they are now working with us and our partners.
"This is a very substantial building we are looking at here and replaces all the buildings which were constructed prior to 1970 - the Royal Box and the A & R block from the 1920s, 1930s and 1950s.
"We have 45 boxes there which are mostly privately let and they are fairly basic. The plan is for those buildings to be demolished at some time in the future.
"They will be replaced with a substantial grandstand and it will take more than one year to build, continuing through one Festival. It is nearly a two-year development.
"We will start immediately after one Festival and we have already assured the boxholders that nothing will happen until after the 2014 Festival at the very earliest.
"It will be the single largest development we have done at Cheltenham by some distance."