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Plans to change surface of Southwell Racecource 'beneficial' for local community

Plans to change the surface of a nationally-renowned racecourse were said to have strong benefits for the local economy at a district council planning meeting.

Despite some concerns from local parishes over the quality of water that would run off the new surface at Southwell Racecourse, the Environment Agency assured members the risk of pollution would be low.

It added it would actually be an improvement on the current material, and ensure less waterlogging.

Southwell Racecourse.
Southwell Racecourse.

Council officer Julia Lockwood said while 80 races were currently allowed to go ahead each year, along with a maximum of 12 Sunday races, the new track would create more diversity in which races could take place.

“This is an existing commercial and tourism enterprise and is a considerable contribution to the local economy,” she said.

Initially it was proposed to use Tapeta 10 material, however, this led to concerns from residents, who complained its contents of polyethylene would harm water habits.

Southwell Racecourse.
Southwell Racecourse.

The applicant has now opted for Tapeta 12, which has been tested and considered safe.

Julia said: “Works would also include a change to the upper subsurface arrangement, replacing the existing impermeable membrane with a porous macadam layer.

“It’s an artificial, all-weather racing surface that can cope better with low temperatures and significant rainfall.

“The proposal would not alter the existing draining system and would not alter ground levels, the track’s location or its overall appearance.”

However, she told members serious consideration would have to be paid to the plan’s logistics, with large levels of materials due to be entering and exiting the site over a ten to 12-week construction period.

She said: “(It’s estimated) the operation to comprise approximately of 2,000 HGV movements.

“It is proposed to store the existing sand on a site next to it until it can be disposed of to different race or golf courses. The removal is likely to take place over a longer time period.

“This area is already used for storage of some microsand to replenish the existing racetrack. To ensure sand is removed from the site within a reasonable time frame, it’s proposed to require all fibresand to be removed from the site within six months of commencement of the development.”

Deliveries would be allowed between 8.30am and 4.30pm six days a week, 8.30am to 1pm on Saturdays, with a signage route to be implemented to direct HGVs.

Highways raised no objections subject to the travel conditions. They will also work to mend any damage on roads as a result of the works.

Chairman and ward member Roger Blaney said the application had been looked very carefully and was happy to proceed.

Member Penny Rainbow, representing Southwell, said: “The racecourse is of national significance and we all benefit from it. All they are trying to do is make the track safer for riders and horses.”

The committee approved the application.

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