A £5m upgrade to York Racecourse has been approved by city councillors.

Work will start after the weekend racing to transform the part of the course south of the Knavesmire Stand, aiming for completion by next summer.

It forms part of its ongoing strategy to retain York’s place as one of the world’s best racecourses. 

The scheme features extra lawns, seating, catering outlets, toilets, bars, betting facilities and big screens, all landscaped, with other environmental features.

Racecourse bosses say the ability to follow races live from both the Bustardthorpe Stand and Knavesmire Stand will be retained. The latter continues to deliver for racegoers as a comfortable modern grandstand. 


The vision is to create racegoer lawns, centralised beneath a high-level canopy, similar to the John Carr canopy which has been keeping racegoers at the Northern End of the venue dry since 2015.

Extensions and improvements to the food and drinks on offer, toilet facilities, betting and screen viewing also form part of the plan.

In addition, back of house facilities for the raceday team, which can be up to 1,500 strong, are being transformed, in keeping with a world class venue.

York Press: Another CGI of the proposals

Highlights of the scheme include:

*Refurbishing and better presenting the 1913 Bustardthorpe Stand.

*Replacing the existing 1950’s single-storey extension to the rear of the Bustardthorpe Stand, with an extension to compliment the work of famous York architect, Walter Brierley;

*An improved Theakston’s Bar, William Hill betting shop, toilet facilities and food outlets;

* Two new racegoer lawns with an overarching canopy similar to that covering the John Carr Terrace;

*Converting the temporary Roberto Village Bar facilities into a permanent feature, single storey building, offering food, bar and betting.

The £5m scheme to improved the facilities for York's Granstand and Paddock racegoers has been developed by Yorkshire firm Dawson Williamson Architects.

York Press: The southern end from the air

It follows recent multimillion pound schemes to improve the experience for both the County Stand racegoer in the Northern End Development (2014-15) and Clocktower Enclosure (2018). 

The racecourse says the focus is to further improve a visit to York for racegoers, visitors and the home team, it is not about growing attendance.

With planning approval now granted by City of York’s planning committee, the main contractor, York-based Lindum, helped by local traders, will start work right after the October meeting.

Mindful of neighbours, a full plan will be implemented with Lindum to best manage the site traffic and delivery of the development.

William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course, said: “These improvements are another sign of the clear vision held by the York Race Committee to ensure we remain one of the world’s best racecourses.

“The Committee has a track record of investing in the facilities, race programme and visitor experience.  This latest chapter aims to improve the facilities for racegoers in the Grandstand and Paddock area, following similar recent investments elsewhere.”