All systems go for Great Leighs racecourse, which aims to host racing from summer 2003

Essex County Showground’s redevelopment as a racecourse has cleared its final planning hurdlefollowing the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions announcement that the final decision will be left to the local council’s planners.

Construction is expected to start shortly as the scheme received the local council’s approval on 21 January 2002. Great Leighs will be the first new racecourse in England since Taunton was constructed in 1927.

Showground owner John Holmes hopes to introduce racing next summer (2003), and will be applying to the British Horseracing Board (BHB) for fixtures.

“I am committed to redeveloping the showground for the next five years and beyond, to establish Great Leighs is an international focus for Essex,” says John Holmes.

The development will include a glass-fronted, steel-clad chrysalis-shaped building, which houses a 7,000 capacity grandstand, restaurants, bars, conference rooms, fitness centre, TV production studios, and jockeys’ weighing rooms. It will overlook the all-weather and turf oval tracks.

The showground will continue to host Essex County Show, which will have use of the new facilities from June 2003.

  • Click here to read about plans to improve and modernise facilities at Newton Abbot racecourse.
  • Click here to read how the BHS is helping a number of UK racecourses redevelop their facilities.