The home of intelligent horse racing discussion
The home of intelligent horse racing discussion

Final Nail In Great Leighs coffin?

Home Forums Horse Racing Final Nail In Great Leighs coffin?

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #11543
    % MAN
    Participant
    • Total Posts 5104

    Licence refused for consortium bidding to take over the course.

    A statement from the BHA said: "A sub-committee of the Board of the British Horseracing Authority has considered a Racecourse Licence application from Great Leighs Racecourse Limited and has today declined to grant that entity a racecourse licence.

    "Great Leighs Racecourse Limited will therefore not be entitled to take part in the 2010 Fixture Allocation Process."

    #230902
    Tuffers
    Member
    • Total Posts 1402

    Licence refused for consortium bidding to take over the course.

    A statement from the BHA said: "A sub-committee of the Board of the British Horseracing Authority has considered a Racecourse Licence application from Great Leighs Racecourse Limited and has today declined to grant that entity a racecourse licence.

    "Great Leighs Racecourse Limited will therefore not be entitled to take part in the 2010 Fixture Allocation Process."

    I think the Twelfth Man would say of Great Leigh’s chances of staging racing again:

    "Not an impossible task, but pretty ****ing close to it"

    #230903
    gumshield
    Member
    • Total Posts 119

    Oh dear. How sad. Never mind.

    #230906
    Glenn
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1988

    A sad parable for our times. Anyone that wants to understands the way racing is run these days needs only look at Not So Great Leighs.

    They designed a course with a stand in the middle, laid a surface that punters/racegoers clearly don’t prefer and had a pitch auction where a large proportion of the pitches were bought by off-course bookmakers never to be used, with the sole intention of creating an uncompetitive on-course market.

    Then the inevitable financial difficulties came and what did the BHA do? Send in Peter Savill’s former jockey to have a look at those safety limits and see if they can’t be reduced from 16 to 15!

    Nero was a commited firefighter by comparison.

    #230925
    apracing
    Participant
    • Total Posts 3326

    They designed a course with a stand in the middle

    That’s how it ended up, but it wasn’t the original design. That had a perfectly good stand on the outside of the home straight. But before Holmes had put down the foundations, the council compulsorily purchased more than half the land on which it would have stood in order to construct a four lane dual carriageway in the middle of nowhere.

    Perhaps Holmes should have given up at that point, but given the amount he’d already spent, hardly surprising that he kept going and opted for a compromise.

    He may not have a had a stand, but the road access was superb!

    #230927
    yeats
    Participant
    • Total Posts 3136

    Tommo is not a happy bunny, it’s costing him a lot of money. He says they are appealing against the decision.

    #230958
    % MAN
    Participant
    • Total Posts 5104

    They certainly were shafted by the council and the somewhat perverse planning decisions that were made after the course was approved.

    However the problems go deeper, and a great deal of the "blame" for the situation must rest with the management team and in particular John Holmes.

    Although I am not the greatest fan of all weather racing it undoubtedly has the best racing surface of the all weather courses and it serves an area which is somewhat devoid of racing.

    Whilst its seeming demise is no great surprise, it is a shame nonetheless.

    I think the reason why Tommo is so keen to see something resurrected is he is one of the many creditors of the original company, although I don’t know if any deal would have involved taking on the debts of the old company.

    It is also my understanding that those behind the new venture are close friends and business associates of John Holmes and I also believe John Holmes still owns some of the infrastructure of the course. with John Holmes seemingly having already burned his bridges with the BHA then I suspect his perceived involvement may well be a stumbling block.

    One colleague summed it up perfectly in relation to John Holmes continued involvement. "It is like buying a house where the previous owner still owns the bathroom."

    #231015
    threenaps
    Participant
    • Total Posts 317

    I am not sure the council shafted him, I think the expectations as to what compensation he would get for having the road put through his land was rather overstated. The £10,000,000 claim is quite some way over the approx £450,000 he was actually awarded.

    I don’t think he was a good businessman either, as far as I know he didn’t pay anybody he owed money to, not just Tommo, but honest ordinary people who provided a service in good faith and ended up shafted by not receiving any payment. The Tommo’s of this world can continue to make good money. the small business’s go under because they were relying on being paid.

    I think also that a stumbling block for anybody thinking of taking it over is that the raceday stables are on his personal farmland which are separate from what is in Administration, not the racecourses land. Any future owner would have to build new ones if they wanted to have nothing to do with the previous owner.

    #231041
    Colin Little
    Member
    • Total Posts 338

    One thing that Great Leigh’s did have was a first-class propaganda machine, some of which is still being peddled today. If something went wrong, it was always someone else’s fault or some organisation making it deliberately difficult for them.

    That’s how it ended up, but it wasn’t the original design. That had a perfectly good stand on the outside of the home straight. But before Holmes had put down the foundations, the council compulsorily purchased more than half the land on which it would have stood in order to construct a four lane dual carriageway in the middle of nowhere.

    If I can just add a bit of balance to this point. This site had outline planning permission for the by-pass to go through it, long before John Holmes had started any building work on the racecourse. Also, the idea that a council or the DoT can just build a by-pass at will, without consultation is wrong. These things go through in-depth planning & appeal where necessary. This went out to public consultation prior to 2000, and has then gone through three appeal processes instigated by John Holmes. As threenaps mentions Holmes was attempting to claim close to £10m in compensation (not bad considering he only paid about £1m for the whole site). Firstly, an independent Land Registry tribunal found in favour of Essex CC, he appealed that decision, & the appeal was turned down. Finally he asked for a judicial review, which also found in favour of the council, & suggested they had no legal requirement to “change” their plans. He was paid statutory compensation. The fact that he decided to start work before the appeals process was completed is very much his own problem. He started a few projects there before gaining the appropriate regulartory approval. I disagree that he was shafted by the council. I think it was the other way around, he tried to shaft the council (or at least bounce them into a lucrative change of plan for him)…but they stood their ground.

    So if you are one of these conspiracy theorists that think nearly everyone was out to stop Great Leighs. The conspirators list included the local council, the inland revenue, the H&S executive and the BHA amongst others. You would need to add an independent tribunal and a high court judge to that list, as well.

    Other than the planning point, I’m very much in agreement with Paul’s post. Holmes cavalier style may be good in many areas of business, but I’m sure his single-minded, I know best approach, & his loose disregard of regulation has probably isolated him from those very people who could have helped the project.

    I’m sure all these planning documents are on line somewhere, but if anyone does want to see them, leave a note here. I have included a link to a local newspaper, which shows a hopefully unbiased timeline of what happened at Great Leighs.

    http://www.gazette-news.co.uk/news/2083097.0/

    #231103
    % MAN
    Participant
    • Total Posts 5104

    Thanks chaps – I unreservedly withdraw the comments about the council shafting them after reading what you have added. :)

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.