The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) ultimately authorized the development of a new racecourse in Great Leighs, Essex, in 2003, after three years of planning. As Britain’s first all-new racecourse in 81 years, it was to be a state-of-the-art horse racing venue with first-class amenities for spectators, racing staff, and animals. You may now place your bets and play some fun activities online while watching the race.
The idea was created by entrepreneur John Holmes and his son Jonathan. In 1997, the partnership purchased the 165-acre Essex County showground in Great Leighs, near Chelmsford, and began planning the construction of a world-class equestrian arena.
Building a racecourse from the ground up in a region that had never seen one before was a massive undertaking. On the other hand, the track was in a fantastic location, only 50 miles from Britain’s main racehorse training center in Newmarket, Suffolk, and easily accessible from London. The way was meant to be composed of an artificial Polytrack surface, with plans to expand the facility later to include a grass track within the all-weather course.
The event is free and accessible to the general public.
The course was scheduled to begin in October 2006. It was repeatedly postponed due to unanticipated circumstances. On April 20, 2008, the course’s inaugural race was held in front of a completely invited audience. On May 28, 2008, the first meeting with full public entry was born, and while the racing facilities were excellent, the spectator facilities were limited. They were heavily chastised by the press and racegoers alike.
The racing at Great Leighs, which cost more than £30 million, was up and running, but only for a short time.
There are a lot of terrific Leighs in the administration.
Nine months after it opened, the course went into receivership, and the BHA quickly revoked its temporary racing license. However, attendance was acceptable, although not at the expected levels. The costs of developing and running the course had escalated to the point where the company could no longer justify them, and the system had accrued excessive debts due to the economic slump.
The administrators, Deloitte, then began looking for a buyer for the facility, either for use as a racetrack or for other services. Two parties had enquired about the property in March 2009 but could not establish that they had sufficient finances to purchase it.
The facility’s principal creditor was the Royal Bank of Scotland. They agreed to let the administrators take over ownership of the site and lease the day-to-day operations to a race management business. Due to this, an 18-month lease was negotiated with businessman Terry Chambers, but it fell through when they could not obtain the appropriate racing license.
Deloitte gave up all hope of selling the site as a going concern in June 2010 when a second deal with Chambers fell through and initiated discussions with the bank to find an alternative use.
Prospects for Great Leighs
Unfortunately, horse racing will be discontinued at the site shortly. The land now has little or no value, and the most likely outcome is that it will be developed for housing. The organizers are considering introducing clubs that host Polo competitions as a twist.