Posted on the Larkhill Racecourse Facebook page:
I know that for many months now, rumours have abounded about a Museum and Heritage Centre that is possibly to be built at Larkhill Racecourse. I have no concrete news for you but am writing to you to ask for some help over the matter.
I must stress that at this stage nothing is 100% definite. In fact as far as I know they do not yet have the finance in place to go ahead with this – and they are asking for an eye-watering amount of money. Never mind what will, I am sure, be a very complicated Planning initiative – so although they are going public with 2021 as an opening, that is not really a totally definite date!
The Racecourse Trustees and Col Peter Wright (ex Clerk of the Course) have been working with both the Trustees of the Museum and the planners and architects to ensure that the Racecourse and Cross Country and what we do here, is as little affected by the plans as possible – and that any incorporation envisaged would allow us the facilities that we need to run what are very complicated days, with very specific requirements, in the best and safest way possible.
There are, no doubt, some huge advantages to this coming about. Firstly, electricity – they would bring in a normal supply and we could stop worrying about whether or not our generator would last – that would be great. They are planning a Road in from the Packway – I am more than fully aware of how much that would benefit us with heavily loaded horseboxes currently having to brave the most diabolical conditions (I drive a lorry myself so I know just how it feels to get it over the potholes). There would be water and sewerage installed and a lot of our volunteers who sit in pretty Spartan conditions currently could possibly be housed in far more comfortable surroundings.
They are however, planning some “Public Consultations” in early March in our local area – and it strikes me that the more ‘Larkhill Racecourse’ people we can get to these meetings the better it would be to ensure that those who’ need to know’, do know how much this racecourse and all that it does means to those of us who use it year after year.
Below is the timetable for these Public Consultations.
8th March 14:30-21:30 Sharp Hall The Packway, Larkhill Public Exhibition
9th March 14:00-20:30 Durrington Village Hall High Street, Durrington Public exhibition
10th March 15:00-21:30 Figheldean Village Hall Pollen Lane, Figheldean Public exhibition
11th March 15:00–21:30 Shrewton Methodist Church High Street, Shrewton Public exhibition
Don’t be put off by the very long hours advertised – it is designed as a “pop in” situation! However I believe that there will be facilities available to leave comments and thoughts and THAT is what we need you to do. Please take a good look at the displays and comment on what you observe and if possible engage with the people who are promoting this. Making sure that you put on the form that your interest is equestrian – p2p, eventing, hunter trialling, pony club – whatever.
This is important!
We need them to be aware of how many people in the area use and value our facilities.
I am trying to get a reasonable ‘spread’ of people at each consultation session – they are hours long, so it would give anyone a reasonable amount of time to attend. if, say, a Equitation person (or two or three – or hopefully more!!) were to make themselves known each time, then that would be a significant number over the four meetings. It would help us to ensure that they realise that we are very serious about our facilities and what they mean to the local (and not so local) communities, the pointing/racing world, the eventing world, the pony club, the riding clubs etc., etc. An incredible number of people (around 25,000 per annum) and horses come through our gates each year and return and return and return.
We are keen to ensure that there is a sensible way forward in this matter. However we will not compromise our needs and requirements. After 70 years (next year), our facilities, whilst not the smartest I admit, do the job for us admirably and we have no intention of letting our standards slip. To this end there is a need to make certain that the RAML/HERITAGE centre know how strong the feeling is about Larkhill’s equestrian facilities. How important it is to a very large number of people.
I would be very grateful if you could let me know which meeting you could attend. This will help (I hope) to ensure that we have a good number at each session.
This is a rather serious CALL TO ARMS – we need help, I look forward to hearing from you.
And THANK YOU!
With best wishes,
Clerk of the Course