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Manchester on the move

The G-MEX venue in the centre of Manchester which has hosted 11 shows
since the last dog show in the Belle Vue halls in 1988. The rent at the venue,
which was extended two years ago is now in excess of £120,000

Manchester Dog Show Society will hold its last show at the central Manchester venue of G-MEX in February 2003.

A meeting of the Kennel Club General Committee on July 9th discussed the principle of moving the show out of the city centre to the New Bingley Hall at Stafford County showground for the years 2004 - 2006. The dates of January 17th - 19th have been approved for the 2004 show.

A KC press release confirmed that the group split will remain unchanged over the three year period.

G-MEX, the former Manchester Central Station, has hosted the show 11 times since 1988 after the long time venue Belle Vue was sold and redeveloped. There was also an ill-fated move to Haydock Park Racecourse in 1994 when the show was badly rain affected by freak conditions. On the same April weekend that year the Hertfordshire Game Fair suffered snow and flooding at the showground just outside Redbourn, Herts.

For two years, with the assistance of Manchester City Council Parks Department, in 1990 and 1992 the society moved outdoors to Heaton Park, in Prestwich, Manchester when it then occupied September and April dates.

But at the time there was pressure for the society to move back indoors because of the costs incurred at the outdoor venues. President at the time was Mr Peter Mann who, a few year later, became Vice President of the Kennel Club and subsequently chairman of Crufts Committee.
In an unprecedented move for the society in 1994 it opened up membership to all, including women, as it had been an all male preserve with masonic links, and then Kennel Club General Committee member Mrs Valerie Foss became its first woman president.

In May of this year the National Dog Show run by Birmingham Dog Show Society Ltd. also moved to Stafford after to two years at the NEC in the spring of 2000 and 2001 and very wet show at the Arbury Hall Estate, near Nuneaton in 1999. The Arbury show cost the show over £60,000.

Recent accounts for the Manchester society reveal that they pay out over £120,000 to hire the city centre hall for five days to cover build up, show days and break down. In recent years they have made a loss on the show but have, nevertheless, returned a stated profit of over £20,000 per year in recent years with income from investments. But it is felt that over a new three year contract the show will continue to return unacceptable losses and that a move would be in the interest of all.

OUR DOGS contacted the Kennel Club and asked if it had definitive guidelines for show societies moved out of ‘their’ area to hold shows. We were told that there were no fixed rules but that each individual application was dealt with on merit. In 1995 when the Kennel Club actively reduced the volume of CCs available to championship shows it removed one of the National Gundog Association shows and the Merseyside Gundog Club event which at the time shared the same G-MEX venue. At the time geographical pressure on available venues was so great that clubs and societies were told to try and locate events near to their town of association.

Several years ago the Manchester made a conscious decision to remove from its schedule all breeds without CCs, therefore reducing the entry to more manageable proportions and conforming with Kennel Club safety requirements.

Next year the show has confirmed dates of February 7/8/9 at the G-MEX venue. Although the venue has attracted some criticism over the years it has generally been found to be much improved since the additional hall was built on the north side of the venue about two years ago.

This gave the show the chance to set up several rings in the ancillary accommodation but pressure on car parking space was more critical when the Great Northern Warehouse next to the venue on Deansgate was redeveloped. This was particularly difficult for breeds scheduled on the Friday of the show when incoming traffic merged with normal commuters.

Two years a show dog was killed when it jumped over a low wall of a car park which was two floors up from the street.

We also hear that the ground for the next Southern Counties CA championship show was under question. Their chairman and show manager Mr David Cavill has issued the following statement, ‘It is also no secret that I am concerned about the increasing demands made upon committee members and contractors if the build up to the show has to be completed in wet weather.

‘However good the outdoor rings (and they are among the best on the circuit) wet and muddy conditions in the benching and wet weather areas are not acceptable and trade stands, too, must have easy access. The SCCA committee is carefully considering all the options available but there is no truth in the suggestion that the showground near Crawley that is owned by the Association is up for sale.’

New site

Another large show, that of the South Wales K A, which has been held at the Mount Ballam Equestrian Centre, Crick has had the green light from the Kennel Club to move to a new site if they wish. The proposal was flagged up to members at the association’s AGM last February as this year’s event is the last in a negotiated contract at Mount Ballam. OUR DOGS understands that the committee of the association will meet in due course to consider a potential new site.

Another show which may well have to look to the future will be Richmond Dog Show Society which uses part of the paddock area at Ascot Racecourse. Last week the racecourse announced a £180 million plan to develop the stands and the famous Silver Ring Area in 2005-7 which has hosted many breed club shows over the years. The society, which suffered considerable financial losses because of false accounting procedures and losses to a former treasurer which had drained its accounts over many years, has just recovered following a year long battle to recover missing funds. It would seem that they are due to have a meeting with the Ascot authorities this month to discuss the implications of the proposals and the impact on its future shows.

The on-going saga of the new Bournemouth CA showground continues with the association holding its show this year at the New Forest Showground, Brockenhurst whilst negotiating for the right to hold shows at a proposed new ground which it hopes to buy. The 56 acre site just off a by-pass near Wareham, Dorset could provide the association with an ideal once a year venue if planning permission for improvements are approved. We understand a planning consultant is representing the show and that the latest proposals have been placed before Purbeck Council.