Jockey Club aim to sell Kempton for housing to fund spending

Runners pass the packed grandstand at Kempton Park on Boxing Day. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Runners pass the packed grandstand at Kempton Park on Boxing Day. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
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Kempton, home of the King George VI Chase, could be closed for housing redevelopment “from 2021 at the earliest” owners the Jockey Club have announced.

The £500million of investments to be made in the sport in a 10-year plan proposed by the Jockey Club would see Kempton set aside as a future redevelopment site, with a new all-weather venue to be built if that idea goes ahead.

The Jockey Club’s land at The Links in Newmarket is the front-runner as the location for a new floodlit artificial track, with the King George switching to Sandown.

The Kempton estate has been submitted for consideration to Spelthorne Borough Council in Surrey, which is seeking to address unmet local housing needs and reviewing its Green Belt boundaries.

The Jockey Club insist Kempton will only be redeveloped if the move will generate in excess of £100m and the all-weather circuit at Newmarket is given the green light.

Senior Steward Roger Weatherby said: “The Jockey Club is governed by Royal Charter to act for the long-term good of British racing.

“One of the ways we want to live up to that is through a series of projects that offer benefits all around the country and collectively add up to us contributing more than half a billion pounds to the sport over the next decade.

“We must show leadership and, where merited, take tough decisions to help our sport to keep moving forwards. The decision to submit our estate at Kempton Park for consideration in the Local Plan is unique and has not been taken lightly.

The Jockey Club will ask that the King George and a select number of Kempton’s jumps events switch to Sandown, just six miles away.

Sandown would then benefit from a major investment, and Kempton’s other jumps fixtures could be spread around other Jockey Club-owned racecourses throughout the country.