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iN BrieF
Salford racecourse scheme scuppered
Former Blue Chip
Government rejects Peel's proposals for major Salford Forest Park development
casinos sold
Two casinos formerly operated By Pete Hayman
by the failed Blue Chip Casinos
company have been sold by the Communities secretary John
group's administrators. The two Denham has rejected Peel
sites, Castle Hill in Dudley and Holdings' multi-million pound
The Rubicon in Wolverhampton, plans for a new racecourse and
were sold for an undisclosed sum. nature reserve near Salford,
Lawyers Davenport Lyons acted Greater Manchester.
on behalf of Administrators UHY A public inquiry into the proj-
Hacker Young on the deal. Blue ect was launched in April 2009
Chip Casinos were part of after Peel Holdings appealed to
US-based Isle of Capri Casinos. the government to intervene in
Jonathan Lass, corporate partner the planning process after
at Davenport Lyons, said: "The Wigan Council and Salford City Peel proposed the development of a new racecourse and a hotel
transaction was completed in Council (SCC) failed to decide
two weeks in order to safeguard whether to back the Salford swimming pool, a forest park the location of the scheme,
jobs and the goodwill of the Forest Park plans. visitor centre and an eco-village, lying in the green belt, posed
operating businesses." The development proposals as well as 11 miles (18km) of some particular difficulties.
included a new international cycle trails and 20 miles (32km) "The inspector and secretary
Profits warning
standard horse racing course, of footpaths were also of state clearly shared these
from Luminar
boasting a 6,000-seat grand- earmarked for the site. concerns and have found that
Nightclub operator Luminar stand, an eventing course and SCC lead member for harm outweighs any benefits in
expects profits for the year to 25 an equestrian centre at the planning Derek Antrobus said: this case and have accordingly
February 2010 to be below centre of the 1,690-acre "While the council's planning dismissed the appeal."
expectations due to a (684-hectare) site, as well as an panel always recognised that SCC had raised opposition to
combination of the recent bad 18-hole golf course. Peel's proposals offered some the scheme due to the impact
weather and economic conditions, An 80-bedroom hotel with a economic and social benefits to the development would have
particularly the increase in gym, a restaurant and a Salford, it also recognised that on green belt land.
youth unemployment. The
company said it was "very
HMV secures
encouraged" by much better sales
on Christmas Eve and New Year's
MAMA takeover
Racing undeterred by downturn
Eve and by average sales per Music retailer HMV has By Pete Hayman
customer, which were up 1.5 per acquired live music group
cent in December when compared MAMA in a deal worth Attendance levels at racecours-
with last year. Same outlet sales around £46m. es across the UK remained
for the month, however, were In a statement, HMV stable during 2009 despite the
13.8 per cent down on last year. said it had agreed a deal challenging economic climate,
that will see the group according to new figures
NFL set for Wembley
pay 5.4p for each MAMA published by the Racecourse
Stadium return
share and aims to build Association (RCA).
The National Football League on a joint venture The total number of people Race-goers continued to visit
(NFL) has confirmed that a between the two groups attending horse racing events courses despite the recession
regular-season fixture will be unveiled last January. during the 12-month period
played at London's Wembley HMV believes it will be increased by 2,000 to suffering abandonments during
Stadium on 31 October for the able to increase growth of 5,718,729 when compared with the cold snap, which has
fourth consecutive year. San the live venues and the 5,716,656 for the previous year, continued to make January a
Francisco 49ers, the five-time festivals business and will although the average daily very testing time for courses.
Super Bowl champions, and also be able to drive attendance decreased by 0.22 "However, the all-weather
two-time champions Denver further cost and "revenue per cent to 4,008. tracks have done a magnificent
Broncos will contest the fixture, synergies" out of operat- Stephen Atkin, chief execu- job to keep the show on the
which could be one of two ing them alongside tive of the RCA said: "The road and hopefully things will
regular-season matches played in HMV's existing businesses. figures would have been even be back to normal soon to
the UK during 2010. better but for December build on last year's success."
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