Hereford racecourse: track to close doors for good at the end of 2012PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
No more closures planned by Northern
NO further racecourse closures are planned by the Northern and Arena Racing group its chairman Lord Howard said on Saturday morning.
Northern Racing, along with Arena Leisure, made the shock announcement on Friday that it would close Hereford racecourse permanently at the end of the year while Folkestone is set to shut on a temporary basis.
Howard, who lives near the Folkestone track which falls under his former parliamentary constituency, said: "We have no plans to close any other racecourses and the fixtures will not be lost and I hope will be run for better prize-money but it is sad we had to take this decision about these two racecourses."
The decision over Hereford was taken after the group, headed by the Reuben brothers, failed to be granted permission to extend the lease which ends in 17 years.
"These are not decisions which have been taken lightly, I only live two miles away from Folkestone racecourse and it's a very sad day," he told Channel 4's The Morning Line.
"I'm very sad about Hereford, too, but there's no doubt at all about Hereford, there were different stories doing the rounds yesterday but we've been in negotiations with Herefordshire Council for many years.
"Many people would agree the facilities are not up to scratch, they need substantial investment and you can't expect anyone to make that kind of investment when the lease only has 17 years left to run."