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Major events investment at Stoneleigh Park

Helena Pettit and Ian Jowett, with members of the Grandstand project team.
The first phase of a major investment programme of around £1.5 million to improve conference and event facilities at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire has been completed. Grandstand – Stoneleigh Events, which manages the event business at Stoneleigh Park, has spent just over £728,000 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 original structure was built in the 1960s and was designed to primarily exhibit livestock.

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

The handover of the completed project was made between the principal contractor Ian Jowett, of Willmark Ltd, and Helena Pettit, managing director of Grandstand Group. Key members of the Grandstand project team were present at the official handover including Kirsty Anderson, Group Head of Operations, and Phil Cobourne, Grandstand Project Manager.

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 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 difference 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 £750,000 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 five-year 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 £50 million to turn it into a science park dedicated to rural and agricultural innovation over 15 years.

“Stoneleigh Park is renowned for hosting high-profile 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.”

Pictured: The official handover of Hall 3 at Stoneleigh Park are, front left to right, Helena Pettit and Ian Jowett, with members of the Grandstand project team.

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