THE Campaign Group is pleased to present its reaction to Framptons’ Exhibiton material as displayed last week.
We urge supporters and residents to take some time to read these comments, and take note of the conclusions and opportunity to register your own thoughts as part of the process.
It is important to note that this is a consultation stage, and we will continue to keep you updated as and when a planning application is submitted.
Our own display material will follow for your interest later in the weekend.
• The planning process is quite complex and we aim to keep everyone informed of the up-to-date position on this website and through direct communications with local residents. • Framptons’ Exhibition is seeking views on a scheme that is likely to be submitted as an outline planning application towards the end of 2017. Comments are submitted to the prospective developer. • An outline planning application is seeking to establish the principle of change of use of the site. It is possible (and maybe likely) that the scheme in the planning application could vary from the scheme presented at the exhibition. • Once submitted as a planning application, Rugby Borough Council will seek views on the scheme. It is very important that comments are made on the planning application at the appropriate time direct to the Council. • In parallel, Framptons have submitted representations on the emerging Rugby Local Plan seeking housing redevelopment of the Stadium site. The scale of development proposed in the local plan representations is set at 250 dwellings. • The Save Coventry Speedway & Stox Campaign Group will be submitting responses to Framptons on their current consultation, to the Council on any planning application(s), and representations resisting housing have already been submitted on the emerging local plan. • The public examination overseen by a Planning Inspector into the local plan will be held early next year, and the Campaign Group have requested a seat at the table.
In the display material which follows, you can click on each board to see a larger pdf version.
Sheet 1 - Welcome
1. Brandon Estates were not directly represented at the meeting, relying instead on their consultants to take the flak. The consultants were unable to answer many of the questions posed by visitors.
2. An earlier public meeting had been held by Framptons in 2014. The results of that consultation have never been released despite a request for them to report back to an earlier public meeting held by the action group.
Sheet 2 - Planning Context
1. Paragraph 2 suggests that planning proposals need to be assessed against policies in line with the National Planning Policy Framework and associated National Planning Practice Guidance. Given this, it is strange that Framptons’ material conveniently forgets to mention (and thereby misleads?) national policy protecting sports facilities where there is a continuing need for the activities accommodated. Conveniently, they choose to concentrate on viability alone, completely ignoring the local, national and international significance of Coventry Stadium.
2. Paragraph 4 implies the whole site is brownfield. We believe this is incorrect. The footprint of the buildings on the site occupy only a small proportion of the site area. Sports facilities and car parks are frequently to be found in Green Belt and would not be regarded as brownfield sites.
3. The openness of the site backs up the previous point through its inclusion in the Green Belt.
4. Paragraph 5 suggests the short-term lease was offered in 2015. This is not correct - it was late 2016. The lease was for one year only, with the potential of a further two years subject to the redevelopment of the stadium being included on the Rugby Local Plan.
5. Brandon Estates refused to allow stock car racing to continue at the venue as part of the lease negotiations with Coventry Speedway. The stadium was (from 1928 to the end of the 2016 racing season), and remains viable as long as both sports are accommodated.
6. Paragraph 6 claims speedway and stock car racing are no longer viable uses for this site. They show photographs of a vandalised stadium to justify this claim. This vandalism occurred since Brandon Estates took possession of the site and was made possible due to their failure to properly secure the site and prevent three separate incursions by gypsies. The photographs, naturally, were taken at a time after Brandon Estates took possession of the site and are not reflective of the condition of the stadium in December 2016.
7. Brandon Estates’ representations on the emerging local plan suggest that the stadium site should be developed for housing instead of other sites proposed by the Council in the plan. This means that no extra housing would be built - it would merely shift house-building from one site to another.
8. A site closer to Binley Woods (Land at Sherwood Farm) has already been earmarked to provide this community's contribution to meeting Borough-wide housing need.
9. If housing is built on the site instead of elsewhere then the "significant benefits to the Borough" need to consider the loss of the most significant and busiest sports venue and major tourist attraction in the Borough.
Sheet 3 - Environmental Opportunities and Constraints
1. This illustration in fact shows how well-screened Coventry Stadium is located away from most other nearby uses and the majority of existing housing.
Sheet 4 - Accessibility and Sustainability
1. This plan shows just how well-located Coventry Stadium is. It is in a predominantly rural location yet still close to the city of Coventry and well-served by the trunk road and motorway network.
2. It shows how most of the housing in Binley Woods and Brandon is at least 200m away from the site. Local residents are generally accepting of motorsport events taking place once or twice a week.
3. While it is true that the stadium can generate significant traffic volumes, these are infrequent and well outside normal peak times.
Sheet 5 - Site Analysis
1. The site has a long and illustrious heritage for motorsports which has been home to many major events. The Save Coventry Speedway and Stox campaign has lobbied Rugby Council for designation of the site as a Conservation Area.
2. The provision of necessary services for redevelopment of the site does not appear to have been seriously addressed. Drainage is known to be an issue as is, for example, the availability of school places. The proposed development is not well located in relation to most of the local services in Binley Woods and Brandon.
Sheet 6 - Site Analysis
1. The assessment of Ecology proves that there would be a detrimental impact on bat roosts.
2. The overall limited impact on wildlife through redevelopment is hardly surprising given the nature of the Stadium as a sports facility with a large car park.
3. Since the stadium has been used for motorsport since 1928 - save the break for WWII - it means the site can operate for motorsports 24/7. This is a major advantage of the existing site. Those residents who live close by are generally strongly supportive of the stadium being retained. Most, if not all, will have moved into the area in full knowledge of the noisy sports that take place at the site.
Sheet 7 - The Proposal
1. It appears as an ‘island’ development very poorly related to existing development and services.
2. The site is within Green Belt, and consultants were neither able to confirm where the new Green Belt boundary should be, nor how the development relates to Government advice on the definition of Green Belt boundaries.
3. The open space and walkways on the site are not necessary. There is already an extensive network of Public Rights of Way surrounding the site and linking to surrounding countryside.
Sheet 8 - What Happens Next
1. The text in paragraph 2 is disingenuous because most opinion supports retention of the stadium. One of the Framptons representatives confirmed that the results of the earlier 2014 consultation suggested exactly that. Brandon Estates should respect the wishes of local residents and stadium users and drop their plans for housing and work with Speedway, Stock Car Racing, the Council and local residents to restore the site to its former glory.
2. If they are not prepared to do so then Brandon Estates should respect their obligations and work towards the identification and development of a new stadium in the locality before housing proposals even reach the starting blocks, in line with national planning policy.
3. The Save Coventry Speedway and Stox Campaign will work tirelessly to ensure that no housing is built on the site until a satisfactory solution can be found.
The Save Coventry Speedway & Stox Campaign Group object in the strongest possible terms to the proposed housing redevelopment of Coventry Stadium at Brandon on the following grounds:
1. Coventry Stadium has a long and illustrious heritage of motorsports uses dating back to 1928. It is a sports stadium of local, national and international significance.
2. The proposed redevelopment of Coventry Stadium is directly contrary to national planning policy which protects such facilities where there is a continuing need for the activities. In the event of redevelopment then an alternative sports stadium of at least equivalent quality should be provided. Since Brandon Estates have not recognised these points, the principle of redevelopment of the site for any purpose has not been established.
3. Suggestions that the site is not viable for Speedway and Stock Car Racing to continue are incorrect.
4. The Proposed redevelopment of Coventry Stadium is contrary both to the provisions of the existing development plan for Rugby as well the emerging local plan review.
5. The whole of the site of Coventry Stadium forms part of the Green Belt.
6. Rugby Borough Council’s approach to provision for future housing growth already allows for development of an alternative housing site better related to Binley Woods.
7. Little weight can be attached to the indicative housing proposals because the principle of development has not been established and it is known that Brandon Estates have previously proposed up to 300 dwellings and continue to seek 250 dwellings as part of their representations on the emerging local plan. The development proposed forms an island, poorly related to Binley Woods or Brandon.
The Save Coventry & Speedway Campaign Group urge that local residents, Speedway and Stox fans should object to Brandon Estates’ emerging proposals and are encouraged to draw on the above in so doing.