DRIFFIELD AS Championship Show may be looking for a new home for its 2006 show if Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council, which owns the racecourse, signs a joint-venture contract with Arena Leisure which will close the venue for 18 months whilst a major building programme is completed.
Provided no more time is lost in giving the green light to proposals that were first made public during the 2001 Leger meeting, the course will close for racing at the end of 2005 and Driffield championship show will need to find a new venue after this year’s show.
The venue also used to host the popular Yorkshire Cat Show but increased costs forced it to move to the nearby Leisuredome two years ago.
Whilst the proposed timescale to complete the major part of a £55 million pound redevelopment scheme means the venue would be scheduled to reopen in the summer of 2007, it is thought that Driffield may have to look for a new permanent venue as increased rental cost in the ‘new’ development may be too high.
Three months will be required for demolishing and making safe the 1969 grandstand, which like most major projects of the time used asbestos throughout the building. A further 15 months will be taken in constructing the new racing, exhibition and conference facility.
Whilst previously the council had considered putting up temporary facilities so that racing could continue, despite strong cautionary advice from Ascot, which is currently closed for redevelopment, and Arena, in June council officials accepted closure as the best option.
Earlier this week a DMBC press office spokesman said: "We can't give any indication when the contract will be signed. Try again next week."