The new boss of Warwick Racecourse has confirmed he will not resurrect controversial plans for a hotel to be built at the site.
Andre Klein, general manager of the course on St Mary’s Lands, has ended uncertainty by announcing the 100-bedroom hotel plan will not be revisited after being rejected in 2012.
Speaking of his vision to develop horse racing and attract more visitors, he said: “The hotel concept is dead. Since switching to an all-jumps racecourse the business model has changed and we currently have no plans involving a hotel at the site. The focus of The Jockey Club’s investment is for Warwick to be recognised as one of the very best small-jumps courses in the UK over the next few years.”
Plans for a possible six-floor Premier Inn alongside the course were first put forward in 2006, with former manager Huw Williams keen for a build to go ahead despite widespread opposition.
Since the application was rejected by Warwick District Council’s planning committee, The Jockey Club did not appeal the decision but the possibility of the plans resurfacing remained.
Council officials recommended allowing the hotel to help bring economic benefits for the area. But widespread objection was raised including for loss of light and privacy, air pollution and traffic.
Since switching to an all-jumps racecourse the business model has changed and we currently have no plans involving a hotel at the siteAndre Klein
A protest and campaign group was set up and hotel owners in Warwick town centre spoke of fears for their businesses should it go ahead.
Town and county councillor John Holland (Lab, Warwick West) said there was “relief” for many that the plans were not to resurface.
He also welcomed work by the council and stakeholders to adopt a new master plan which will go “back to basics” to find a suitable future for the lands alongside the racecourse in the coming months.
He said: “Controversial plans have been ongoing at the site for years, and we all hope the new plan will step back 10 years to when we all had the same vision to build on.”
Proposals for the new plan, which is under consultation until early 2016, initially included scrapping all ideas of working with The Jockey Club on management of the land and of the hotel build.