A £5 MILLION development of the northern end of York Racecourse has been unveiled today.

As first reported last week, the project, which will be phased over several years subject to a successful consultation period and planning permissions, would transform the facilities for horses, jockeys and officials as well as providing new areas for racegoers to meet, drink and view the action.

The existing pre-parade ring would be moved to the area where the saddling boxes are currently situated. New boxes would be created around this pre-parade zone, along with a wash down area and a two storey weighing room overlooking the existing parade ring.

Racecourse chiefs said that following a “review of operations and consultation with racing professionals, there is a desire to further improve the facilities for the world-class horses that visit York as well as for those who look after them, ride them and come to see them”.

The racecourse have held discussions with City of York Council, their landlord, which have led to a proposal to vary their existing lease and realign the northern perimeter wall. The third of an acre of extra land this produces is key to accommodating the improved equine area.

The extra space then created by moving the pre-parade ring would also allow the revamp of the track’s Moet Pavilion, Champagne lawn and existing weighing room – an early 20th Century listed building which is likely to be a new restaurant.

William Derby, chief executive and clerk of the course, said: “I hope these proposed plans demonstrate York wants to keep improving, to offer the best for horses, for horsemen and for fans of the sport. Wonderful though it was to be able to welcome Frankel, the best racehorse in the world, as well as the 30,000 people intent on seeing him, to York, it did reinforce to me we can improve things.

“We have recently invested in the track, the stables, the stands, facilities for racegoers and other areas of the racecourse so it feels right to turn our intention to areas that last saw a major change over 100 years ago. I’d hope that by keeping on improving we will keep attracting the best horses to York. That can only be a good thing for the profile and economy of both York Racecourse and the city.”