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Council places major restrictions as Lincoln plan hits roadblock.

Byline: Graham Green

SERIOUS logistical problems will need to be overcome if the ambition of bringing Flat racing back to Lincoln in the next five years is to be realised.

The target was set this month when the Lincoln Racecourse Regeneration Company (LRRC) unveiled plans to redevelop the former racecourse at Carholme, which hosted its last meeting in 1964.

The proposal met with stiff opposition from local residents and now it has emerged that if the scheme gets planning permission racing could take place only on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

This is because every day an estimated 15,000 vehicles use Carholme Road, one of Lincoln's major arteries and which separates the track from the grandstand.

Mark Welsh, area highways manager at Lincolnshire County Council, said: "The closure of Carholme Road would present a challenge and in reality it would be possible only on Sundays or Bank Holidays when we would provide road closures as we do for other events such as the Christmas Market.

"We are always keen to help with anything that promotes Lincoln, for all the benefits that would come with such an event as this. As the highways authority, it's important that we strike the right balance between this and the inconvenience to the travelling public."

In theory a racecourse could aim to stage fixtures on Sunday and Bank Holidays only, but gaining Levy Board support for additional meetings on what are already popular days when the sport is facing major prize-money cuts would appear to be an uphill battle. However, without Levy Board funding, the track would find it difficult to make the dates commercially viable.

LRRC is already grappling with a number of infrastructure issues, including the fact the racecourse is on 'common land', but it remains undaunted and is confident its plans can be brought to fruition without taxpayers being asked to contribute to the cost.

The course would try to follow as much of the original two-mile loop layout - with a six-furlong straight - as possible although there would be no one-mile straight as the A46 claimed two furlongs along the bottom of the course.

LRRC says it would hope the track could stage approximately 16 meetings between March and October each year.

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Busy Carholme Road could prove major stumbling block to reopening track
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jun 30, 2010
Words:383
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