Which was the last British racecourse to close permanently?
The last British racecourse to close permanently was Towcester Racecourse, a National Hunt-only venue near the market town of Towcester in Northamptonshire in the East Midlands, which closed in October, 2019. In fact, it was first British racecourse to close since December, 2012, when Folkestone Racecourse ‘temporarily’ shut its gates, but has been left in a derelict state of neglect ever since.
Towcester Racecourse entered administration, with debts in excess of £1.3 million, in August, 2018 and was sold to Fermor Land LLP, a local company linked to Lord Hesketh, chairman of Towcester Racecourse Company, the following November. However, racing never resumed and, in October, 2019, the new owners announced that, after considering options for the future of Towcester Racecourse, the 93-year-old track was to close permanently.
With the assistance of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), Fermor Land LLP sold the remaining ten National Hunt fixtures in its ownership, scheduled for 2020, to Arena Racing Company (ARC), with host venues to be confirmed at a later date. Richard Wayman, chief operating officer of the BHA, said at the time, ‘We had hoped, following the course going into administration, that the new owners might find a solution which allowed racing to resume, and it is disappointing that has not proved possible.’