RACECOURSE bosses say they are ready to help the emergency services and be used as a base for the NHS if required during the coronavirus crisis.

Leading figures at Chelmsford City Racecourse in Great Leighs have confirmed they have had people visit the site to look into the possibility and see whether it could take on a temporary new role.

The popular venue, which opened in 2015, hosts a range of other events other than sporting ones including concerts.

There is also a large conference room space, restaraunts and kitchen facilities.

Horse racing, like other sports across the country, has been suspended until the end of April at the earliest.

Iconic venues such as Wimbledon, Lord’s, Twickenham, Silverstone and Cardiff ’s Principality Stadium have all been offered to the NHS, with the Football Association likely to officially add Wembley to the list in the coming days.

Jill Turner, Chelmsford City Racecourse’s commercial manager, said there had been initial talks and they would be willing to help if asked in a bid to assist wherever they could.

“I can confirm Chelmsford City Racecourse was visited alongside several other locations in the south east to ascertain whether the site could be used by the emergency services during the coronavirus outbreak,” she said.

“There is no further information at this time but the racecourse owners are keen to assist where they can as the racecourse is very much part of the local community.”

A hospital set up in London’s ExCel centre is set to be ready to use next week.

Called the NHS Nightingale, it is expected to have between 4,000 and 5,000 beds for Covid-19 patients and help ease the pressure on hospitals.

Two further temporary hospitals are expected to be formed at Manchester’s Central Convention Centre and the NEC in Birmingham.

It has been reported that the NHS will draw on airline crews to help staff the hospitals.

Thousands have already been written to about the possibility of taking on new roles after additional training.

The Gazette contacted NHS England and the Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group about the potential plans but they did not respond.