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Newmarket July racecourse set for multi-million pound revamp

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A multi-million expansion and improvement plan for Newmarket's much-loved July Racecourse has been agreed.

It includes better facilities for jockeys and a new and expanded Champagne bar for visitors.

The scheme which has been approved by East Cambridgeshire council planners involves the redevelopment of the existing Head-On Stand, and the adjoining Champagne bar and internal improvements to the existing weighing room to create improved facilities for jockeys and their valets needed to meet recent British Horseracing Authority guidelines.

The July Course development
The July Course development

The proposals form the next phase of the masterplan to redevelop the popular summer course, the initial phase of which was implemented with the major redevelopment of the areas for race-goers behind the main stands completed in 2006.

Talks on the scheme began in 2019 ahead of the planning application which was submitted in February this year.

The plan includes proposals to demolish what in its statement the Jockey Club called the ‘outdated and dilapidated’ existing Champagne bar, replacing it with a two-level building housing a new bar and a terrace at first floor level accessed by a curved staircase. The existing grandstand will get a new roof.

Race-goers can expect a bird’s eye view of the winning post from the new terrace.

Works include linking the terrace to the existing stand where a new upper terrace will be located.

Internally, the existing ground floor of the weighing room and stand will be reconfigured to improve the existing jockeys’ facilities.

Major improvements for jockeys and racecourse staff will include a refurbished broadcast and stewards’ area, new warm up and physio room and a new rest room.

The application also describes a new jockeys’ valets’ room with an associated area for washing and drying.

The improvements planned for the jockeys’ facilities include 26 changing positions including private changing and weighing cubicles for male jockeys with 12 similar positions and cubicles for women jockeys.

Both areas will have toilets and showers and between the male and female changing facilities will be what the plan called a flexible area which it said would future-proof the facility allowing the provision to either changing area to be increased by nine positions.

This area would also included a warm up area for jockeys and a room for a physiotherapist and a dedicated doping control room.

Council planning officers said the proposals complied with policies that support equine development and the horse racing industry and that the principle of the development was considered acceptable.

It added that the plans, which include solar panels on the roof of the viewing stand fitted in with its climate change policies.