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HOK Sport bets on £180m revamp for Ascot

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HOK Sport has applied for planning permission for its proposed £180 million revamp of Ascot racecourse in Berkshire. Central to the scheme is the creation of a new grandstand, curved in plan to maximise views. The building sits between the edge of the Royal racecourse and Ascot High Street, with an arched parasol roof in the centre and a series of stepped terraces at each end. A naturally lit internal galleria runs through the centre of the stand to form the main public concourse. The galleria also acts as the 'lung'of the building and provides a natural ventilation system - large louvres on the south side combine with the parasol-like fabric roof to protect the space from overheating in the summer and maximise heat in the winter. The roof structure is constructed from a filigree of lightweight, tubular steel which is covered in Teflon-coated glass fibre.

Project manager for HOK Sport David Elder said the galleria, which will provide public access along the length of the racecourse, would be 'unique' to Ascot. The scheme moves the track and parade ring to improve circulation and views, and could be followed by the addition of a dirt track, which would enable the course to hold races such as America's Breeders'Cup in the long term. An oval-shaped parade ring roof, which provides shelter for spectators and a covered entrance to the racecourse, is made of a lightweight frame clad with ETFE.

The scheme also includes an integral hotel to attract visitors outside the racing season. The six-storey hotel has a panoramic restaurant, additional viewing boxes and a health club. Track relocation is scheduled to begin in late 2002, with construction of the stands due by late 2004.

CABE has asked to examine the finished scheme.

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