Chelmsford: will create the UK's first 'Racino'PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Chelmsford to build turf track under casino plan
CHELMSFORD is a major step closer to fulfilling ambitious dreams that will include a new turf track on the inside of the existing racing surface after planning permission was granted for a casino to be included in a major new development.
The development will create the UK's first 'Racino', a concept that has proved crucial to the viability of many racecourses in the United States and other parts of the world, and one that will see the racecourse formerly known as Great Leighs offer leisure and banqueting facilities 365 days of the year.
It is claimed that it will also make Chelmsford the first racecourse in Europe to offer floodlit racing on turf.
Joe Scanlon, racecourse chairman, said: "This is fantastic news. Over the course of the last few years the leading casinos across the world have been changing into multi-purpose complexes offering a full range of facilities to complement their gambling options.
"Here at Chelmsford we will be the first to offer a fully integrated racecourse 'resort' or leisure destination with entertainment."
Managing director Phil Siers added: "A leading development like this can only lead to bigger and better support for our racetrack. We look forward to the day we are offering a minimum prizefund of £100,000 per meeting and regular turf and all-weather racing."
Work on the grandstand and track is expected to start next year.