The UK Telegraph has recently published the statement by a significant racecourse which attracts more than 20,000 racegoers to events, which has actually banned picnics for health and safety factors. Newcastle racecourse stated it was presenting the ban for all its 2015 fixtures, except one, following a variety of issues at events in 2014. The venue's management team stated stopping racegoers from expanding rugs and eating in chairs would alleviate activity around the racecourse and increase visitors' satisfaction. Racegoers shall instead be supplied with a picnic site outside the racecourse, but within the broader estate. Executive director David Williamson stated... "We have taken the choice not to allow picnics or picnic furnishings into Newcastle Racecourse for all of our 2015 components, with the exception of The Blaydon Races in August, to guarantee the safety and pleasure of all of our visitors, which is our top priority."
At Ladies Day and Plate Day, which normally attract in excess of 20,000 visitors, a variety of health and safety issues were highlighted to the racecourse executive, who has said... "To guarantee the pleasure of all those going to these popular fixtures, and for ease of activity around the racecourse, we have taken the choice not to allow picnics in any enclosure. This is not a decision that has been made without thought, and we hope that this change shall allow us to still provide an enjoyable experience for all of our visitors. In line with the change in policy, more seated areas and extra food outlets shall be available in both enclosures for visitors to make use of if they desire, and for those who wish to have a picnic before coming into the racecourse we will certainly have a designated location within the estate where picnics can be had."
Regular racegoer Sue Nicholson, from Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, was terrified when she found out about the policy change. She had planned to go to this year's Ladies Day; a highlight of the North East social calendar when racegoers of both sexes dress up, in a group of 12 close friends, but she will certainly now cancel the day out. She said... "I specifically like getting dressed up, wearing silly shoes and a silly hat and going to Ladies Day. For the last 2 years I have attended with a group of about a dozen close friends, and we have a great time. We take picnics and have a lot of fun on the water resistant blanket, but after we discovered the picnic ban, we are not going."
she also said... "The racecourse did not allow racegoers to bring their own alcohol in, so that was not part of the policy change. However racegoers dressed up in their finery may not want to eat the sort of food provided by food outlets. You can take a picnic to Glyndebourne, you can take one to Ascot but you can not take a picnic to Newcastle Racecourse? Who do they think they are?" Mr Williamson stated picnickers' furnishings developed a "prospective trip hazard," and that was the main reason for the ban, and not an attempt to get racegoers spending more in food concessions. He said... "The choice has actually been made simply for the convenience and safety of all racegoers. The amount of racegoers generating chairs, rugs, picnic boxes, etc, caused space to be limited for the amount of racegoers going to the race days due to picnickers spreading out. The extra furnishings was a potential trip hazard, and a couple of racegoers have been reported to emergency treatment because of this. Racegoers are under no obligation whatsoever to purchase food while in the racecourse premises. For those who wish to have a picnic blanket lunch before coming into the racecourse, we will certainly have a designated location within the estate where picnics can be had if they so desire."
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