Kempton Park: Plans for redevelopment of racecourse now 'unlikely'

By Cornelius LysaghtBBC horse racing correspondent
Kempton Park racecourse
Kempton Park opened in 1878 and has hosted the King George VI Chase since 1937

Plans to replace Kempton Park racecourse in Surrey - home of the King George VI Chase - with a housing development now look "unlikely".

An assessment by Spelthorne Borough Council suggests the track is "strongly performing" as part of the green belt.

The Jockey Club proposed the building of 3,000 houses with Redrow Homes.

The proceeds of any sale - thought likely to have been in excess of £100m - were to be reinvested in courses including nearby Sandown.

The council, whose leader has described the plans as "unwanted desecration" of the area of south-west London, says it has not received any planning application from the Jockey Club.

In a statement released on Friday, the council said it had commissioned consultants Arup to assess the borough's green belt land.

"Kempton Park was looked at as part of that exercise and found to be 'strongly performing', meaning that it fulfils the purposes of green belt and is therefore unlikely to considered for housing," the council added.

The Jockey Club, which says it is looking to invest £500m in the future of horse racing, responded by saying that the process is not yet over.

"When the Arup report was published in November we commented that it is widely known the site is in green belt and we continue to await the outcome of Spelthorne's call for sites process, and this remains the case," a statement said.