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Sunday, 09 December, 2018

Not on our land! Council plans to ban touts selling tickets at Cheltenham

Cheltenham: 70,000 capacity was reached on Gold Cup day last season
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Officials at the home of jump racing have given their backing to Cheltenham Borough Council's plans to prohibit the activity of ticket touts.

The days of touts outside the track may be numbered after the council announced a six-week public consultation on its plans to prevent them selling tickets, a practice widely regarded as a blot on the landscape.

The council has designed the proposals in co-operation with racecourse officials and the Jockey Club, and want touts to be covered by anti-social behaviour laws during the festival and the Showcase and November meetings.

It hopes to vary its current public spaces protection order (PSPO) in time for this season’s festival in March.

Cheltenham racecourse boss Ian Renton said on Monday: “We’re delighted to be working with Cheltenham Borough Council to try to reduce tout activity at the racecourse.

“The activity of touts on racedays has become an increasing nuisance, with their anti-social, and often fraudulent, behaviour detrimental to the enjoyment of racegoers and local residents additionally.

“We look forward to continuing to progress plans with the borough council and police to prohibit this activity through the implementation of a public space protection order.”

Andrew McKinlay, the borough council's cabinet member for development and safety, feels the proposals, if successfully implemented, will significantly improve the racegoers' experience.

McKinlay said: “We’re trying to control an increasingly big problem and it’s important we do everything possible. It’s a major problem at the festival, where you get people constantly approached by touts from the town centre all the way to the racecourse and we’ve had a lot of complaints about it.

“If we're successful it will significantly improve the racegoers' experience. It undermines the sport to have this sort of frankly black market ticketing taking place. In terms of income going into racing as a whole, the black market economy does nothing for the sport.

“As a regular racegoer myself, I see people being approached, and while some people may laugh it off as part of the overall experience, I think it detracts from it."

McKinlay hopes the public’s response will be positive, with the consultation set to close on January 5.

He said: "We’re asking residents, visitors and partners for their views on a proposal to ban ticket touting during key horseracing events in certain parts of the town.

"In order for the council and its partners to address this, we’re proposing to vary the current public spaces protection order to include a ban on this type of activity so that we can ensure people who visit or live in Cheltenham can do so in an enjoyable and safe way."

The current PSPO in Cheltenham was enforced in April and restricts the consumption of alcohol in certain areas of the town.

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In terms of income going into racing as a whole, the black market economy does nothing for the sport

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