Clinton Devon Estates working with BSJ to secure threatened South West Show Jumping Club events
Clinton Devon Estates working with the BSJ to secure threatened South Western Show Jumping Club events this season
Eleventh hour talks have been taking place between Bicton Arena's landlords Clinton Devon Estates and British Show Jumping (BSJ) to try to secure the future of four of the most important shows in the region's equestrian calendar.
The rescue talks follow the breakdown of 18 months of discussion and correspondence between Clinton Devon Estates and the South Western Show Jumping Club (SWSJC) over terms and conditions for the forthcoming season.
Clinton Devon Estates say they were unable to issue a licence to the SWSJC for the 2010 season because no agreement had been reached regarding "future financial and operational terms" by a deadline of February 10th, which was set seven weeks ahead of the planned Easter Show (April 2nd - 4th).
Bicton Arena Manager Emma Vine said; "We are deeply disappointed that we have been unable to agree terms to renew the licence with the South West Show Jumping Club. Our association with them goes back over thirty years and their events have always been very well attended and a very important part of the regional and national schedule.
"However, in order to renew the SWSJC licence we required a written commitment to financial and operational terms. Clinton Devon Estates are legally required to ensure that high standards of health and safety practice are maintained at the site," explained Emma Vine. She continued; "Venue hire fees have been restructured to reflect a substantial programme of investment at Bicton Arena by the Estate over the past three years and a programme of ring maintenance."
In 2008, SWSJC were charged £1800 a day for the hire of the show jumping arena and the whole site with an additional charge of £500 a show for the use of Luptons field for temporary stables.
Under the new agreement Clinton Devon Estates has increased the venue fee to £2000 a day for the use of the arena and site plus Luptons Field for temporary stables. This increased fee covers the maintenance of the show rings, which was previously the responsibility of the Club. The 114 permanent stables, which have been improved and updated, are charged out at £15 a day per customer from 2011. In 2009 this was capped at a one day charge per show and in 2010 this was capped at two days charges per show. In 2009 the SWSJC moved to the new arrangement which led the Estate to believe that they had accepted the new terms going forward. For the hire of the new £175,000 all weather ménage, completed in March 2010, Clinton Devon Estates is charging £500 a day in line with other users.
Emma Vine explained; "The Estate has invested significantly in Bicton Arena for the benefit of all our customers from local pony clubs to the British Eventing Horse Trials, who we are welcoming back after a break of three years. We are also incredibly proud to have been designated an official pre-Olympic training centre for international teams and individuals in the run-up to the London 2012 Games".
"Our plans for the next three years to make further improvements were made on the basis of British Show Jumping events continuing for the foreseeable future. Planning permission has recently been given to build a new judges box, sponsors pavilion and a new catering facility.
"We feel that the proposals put to the Club were fair and reasonable and very competitive with other equestrian venues in England. We also feel that they reflect the good relationship we have had with SWSJC over the past thirty four years.
We are now doing all that we can to secure British Show Jumping events at Bicton Arena and discussing possible future options with Julian Trim the Regional Representative for BSJ, in order that we can meet the necessary terms and conditions which will allow the shows to go ahead this year," said Emma Vine.
Julian Trim said; "The BSJ is concerned to ensure that this year's scheduled events take place and we are working with Clinton Devon Estates, the SWSJC and third parties to try to find a solution. Bicton Arena is an iconic site for Show Jumping and we are hopeful that it will remain on the BSJ calendar for many years to come"