Last week news broke that Hereford Racecourse is set to close at the end of the year.
Tony Kelly, managing director of Arena and Northern who operate the course, said: “Hereford is owned by Herefordshire County Council and run under a lease arrangement.
“Attempts to extend the lease, which has 17 years remaining, have been unsuccessful. Despite being unviable for several years we have supported the racecourse but much-needed investment, required to breathe new life into the racecourse, cannot be justified in the absence of a long-term future for the business.”
Since then, there has been talk of alternatives to closure, such as the proposal for a hotel to be built as part of a 125-year lease on offer from Herefordshire Council.
If it does close, not everyone will be sad to see the racecourse go. In recent years, the horse racing industry has come under scrutiny from numerous animal rights groups and campaigns, one of which being Animal Aid and their ‘Race Horse Death Watch’ campaign. This has followed a number of high profile falls and deaths at races, notably the Grand National earlier this year.
We will have to wait and see what becomes of Hereford Racecourse, but it does raise the question; if it is to close, what will the council do with the space? A large housing development? A recreational space with top sporting facilities? A second (or by that time, possibly a third) city centre? Time will tell.