Racing: Brighton's future is `secure'

Even the mist that so frequently rolls in from the sea fails to disguise the fact that Brighton, one of the country's oldest racecourses, is certainly among the most dilapidated. Fears that it could become the first British track to shut since Stockton in 1981 have been growing, writes Chris Corrigan.

`Scarper Pinky, it's the law,' runs a well-known line from the 1947 thriller Brighton Rock. In the film, Pinky and his vicious gang work the local track. At least in those days, though, Brighton racecourse had a swagger about it.

Its downland setting offered spectacular views across the Channel. At one time Brighton's mid-summer racing festival was a fashionable next stop after Glorious Goodwood.

But last night Brighton and Hove Council were in the position of urgently seeking to play down anxiety that the course is in jeopardy.

Its future appeared to be in question following a decision by the council, who run the track, to turn down a plan for a pounds 20m facelift, including a hotel and sports bar open 364 days a year.

Arena Plc, who manage Brighton along with Lingfield, Folkestone, Plumpton and Fontwell, announced they would pull out after their proposal was turned down. Arena wanted a 60-year lease.

Graham Parr, Arena's chief executive, said: "I firmly believe that unless substantial monies are forthcoming for the buildings, and redevelopment of the track, serious problems will occur in the not too distant future.

"However, I also understand the lessees position with regard to retaining control of what they regard as a community facility. But it was not the intention of Arena Leisure to remove the community aspect, only to improve the facilities available to all the ratepayers of Brighton.''

One report yesterday suggested that Stan Clarke, a leading racehorse owner whose company have developed the tracks at Uttoxeter and Newcastle, had shown an interest in Brighton.

But last night Clarke told The Independent: ``It's news to me. It is only today that I've heard Arena are pulling out.''

A Brighton council spokesman said last night: "The course is in no danger whatsoever.

``We have been seeking a company to manage the course and have had presentations from Arena Leisure and another unnamed company. We hope to announce our decision in the next few weeks.

"This partnership will enable the racing facilities to be improved with substantial financial investment. The idea is to have racing as the core activity on a course fit to compete in the first division of UK race venues."

Jayne Moore, wife of local trainer Gary Moore, said yesterday: ``It would be appalling if we lost Brighton. When Lewes racecourse closed it was turned into an executive housing estate.''

Arts and Entertainment
Supporting role: at the Supreme Court, Rhodes was accompanied by a famous friend, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch
booksPianist James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to stop the injunction of his memoirs
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
filmDheepan, film review
Sport
Steven Gerrard scores for Liverpool
sport
News
peopleComedian star of Ed Sullivan Show was mother to Ben Stiller
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?