Kempton, home of the King George VI Chase, could be closed for housing redevelopment “from 2021 at the earliest”, its owners the Jockey Club has announced.
The planned £500million of investments to be made in the sport in a 10-year plan proposed by the Jockey Club would see Kempton proposed as a future redevelopment site, with a new all-weather venue to be built if that idea goes ahead.
The Jockey Club’s land at The Links in Newmarket is the front-runner as the location for a new floodlit artificial track, with the King George switching to Sandown. The Kempton estate – on which it is anticipated any future development on racecourse land would be from 2021 at the earliest, subject to a successful planning process – has been submitted for consideration following the local authority’s ‘Call for Sites’ to address unmet local housing needs and a decision to undertake a review of its Green Belt boundaries.
The track’s owner feels “these combine to provide a once-in-a-generation opportunity to promote the site for new homes and local benefits, while preserving green space between the local borough and London” with the stewards of the Jockey Club believing such an outcome would be “in the best long-term interests of British racing given the benefits for horsemen and racegoers that can be created and with the Surrey community already well-served for racing”.
However, the Jockey Club insists Kempton will only be redeveloped if the move will generate in excess of £100m investment and the proposed all-weather circuit at Newmarket is given the green light. Roger Weatherby, senior steward of the Jockey Club, said: “The Jockey Club is governed by Royal Charter to act for the long-term good of British racing. One of the ways we want to live up to that is through a series of projects that offer benefits all around the country.”
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