Doncaster Sales Reaches Deal to Remain in Doncaster

Doncaster Bloodstock Sales, Britain's second biggest bloodstock auctioneers, has at last, after five frustrating years, been able to finalize plans for its future in the town of the same name.

There had been the scenario that DBS, founded in 1962 by two racehorse trainers in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, would move further north to York or go to Newbury in the south of England if a deal could not be hammered out with Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council earlier this month.

Modernization has been on the cards since 2001 when the complete redevelopment of the council-owned racecourse in the town was first outlined. These original plans included a new site and buildings for DBS but fell by the wayside due to cost considerations.

Work on the £32-million racecourse redevelopment started at the beginning of the year following agreement on a management contract between Arena Leisure and DMBC which involved a 99-year lease.

DBS was holding out for a similarly long lease and managing director Henry Beeby explained: "We have resolved all the outstanding issues including the lease which had threatened our future in Doncaster -- a 30-year lease would have been no good. We are financing the whole project so we had to have long-term security.‰

A completely new facility will be constructed on land adjacent to the racecourse about a mile from the present DBS site. The cost will be around £4 million and the number of boxes will rise to 500 from the present 290.

Beeby added: "Hopefully, we will start building in the new year if we can get planning permission sorted out in time and we are aiming to stage our main yearling sales in the new building in September, 2007, to coincide with the re-opening of the racecourse. The main building will be circular but the selling area will be in the shape of a half-moon. We don't want to lose the intimacy of the present sales ring."