Racecourse picnic crackdown rethink


Published: Friday 20th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Plans for Newcastle Racecourse to ban picnics at its major 2015 summer races have been shelved.

Newcastle Racecourse executive director David Williamson blamed potential “overcrowding due to picnics spreading out” for the initial ban but said they have now had a rethink and “extended picnic options” following “feedback” from the public.

Space for up to 4,000 racegoers to have a picnic in a pre-paid course-side area of the Grandstand Enclosure will now be created. Passes for this designated space will cost £25 and must be bought in advance.

Mr Williamson said: “The safety and enjoyment of our guests will always come first and foremost and I hope people understand that we had to take steps to address this.

“The decision to change the policy was by no means entered into lightly, however we have listened to feedback and the team here at Gosforth Park, working with our owners Arena Racing Company (ARC), have looked at a solution that will still address our concerns over safety, whilst giving people the option to picnic on the inside of the enclosures should they wish.”

Racegoers are still banned from bringing alcohol and glass bottles in to the venue which attracts more than 20,000 people to meetings.

Regular racegoer Sue Nicholson, from Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, who was among those who gave feedback on the ban, saying it would make her cancel a trip to this year’s Ladies Day.

She had said: “You can take a picnic to Glyndebourne, you can take one to Ascot but you can’t take a picnic to Newcastle Racecourse? Who do they think they are?”

Mr Williamson said: “We certainly don’t want to dampen anyone’s enjoyment of a day at the races which is a fun, social occasion to be enjoyed by all. There will be a restriction on the number of people allowed into the picnic area so that people can move around with comfort and ease.

“In addition, more seating will be made available in both the Grandstand and Premier enclosures and people will also be able to continue to picnic in the designated area of the Gosforth Park Estate before they enter the racecourse.”

Anyone who has already bought a standard Grandstand or Premier enclosure ticket but would now like to change it to a picnic enclosure badge is advised to contact the booking office.

Published: Friday 20th February 2015 by The News Editor

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