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First phase of PS1.5m investment complete.

Byline: Jenny Waddington Business editor jenny.waddington@coventrytelegraph.net

THE first phase of a PS1.5million investment programme to improve conference and event facilities at Stoneleigh Park has been completed.

Grandstand - Stoneleigh Events - which manages the event business in Warwick-Warwickshire, has spent over PS728,000 on modernising around 4,000sqm of indoor exhibition space.

The upgrade has transformed the space, which formed part of the Blackdown Buildings on the estate, to the same high standard as two adjacent exhibition halls.

The newly-named Hall 3 was unveiled in time for the return of the Great British Shooting Show, which attracts around 25,000 visitors over three days in February.

The investment plans were announced by Grandstand - Stoneleigh Events last year after being joined at Stoneleigh Park by its parent company, Grandstand Group, which moved its headquarters to the emerging centre of agricultural excellence from Hertfordshire.

Helena Pettit, managing director of Grandstand Group, said the refurbishment work to create Hall 3 would help to attract and retain an increasing number of events, from small conferences to national shows. She said: "The work has involved installing a polished concrete floor, new roof, energy efficient lighting and heating as well as high-speed wi-fi which will enhance the overall visitor experience.

"Over 2,000 tonnes of concrete floor was removed and recycled as well as new plumbing and cladding installed.

"The space has been transformed into a modern exhibition hall which makes it a far more viable proposition. It also gives us greater ability to accommodate expanding events held here by providing additional space of a similar standard to Halls 1 and 2. "This will make a huge dif-dif ference to our business and increase the variety of business that we can attract to Stoneleigh Park." The first phase of investment and improvements totals around PS750,000 and includes general refurbishments to the other two exhibition halls. Plans are also being drawn up for the remainder of the Blackdown Buildings to be upgraded in the next year to create additional exhibition halls. With over 21,000sqm of indoor exhibition space and 1,050 acres of outdoor space, Stoneleigh Park is one of the most versatile venues in the UK and hosts around 360 events a year. On-site facilities include a 58-bedroom hotel and free parking for over 30,000 cars.

The investment is part of a major push to attract new events, which has already resulted in winning a fiveyear tender to organise the British Showjumping National Championships from 2015. Motorcycle Trade Expo, previously held at Birmingham's NEC, is another newcomer for this year having held its first event in January.

Colin Hooper, estates director at Stoneleigh Park, welcomed the developments.

He said: "This investment supports the on-going transformation of Stoneleigh Park by LaSalle Investment Management, which has pledged PS50 million to turn it into a science park dedicated to rural and agricultural innovation over 15 years.

"Stoneleigh Park is renowned for hosting highprofile agricultural and equestrian events, and Grandstand - Stoneleigh Events securing the British Showjumping National Championships for five years is a fantastic endorsement of the improving facilities we have here."

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Colin Hooper |and Helena Pettit are pictured in the new Hall 3 at Stoneleigh Park during the final stages of refurbishment
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Feb 13, 2015
Words:540
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