WE would like to extend our Season’s Greetings to all supporters of Speedway and Stock Car Racing at Coventry.
Our thanks to all who have supported the Campaign Group efforts over the course of the year, and also to everyone who helped organise and supported the Challenge matches run in 2017 with Coventry Bees not running as part of the official league structure.
It has been the worst year imaginable for everyone with a love for the sports at Brandon; from the shattering news that ‘agreements’ for future racing were not to be fulfilled, to the eventual omission of Coventry from the 2017 Premiership, to the deterioration in condition of the stadium throughout the year arising from the lack of security on-site by the owners.
Brandon Estates bought the stadium for their own purposes, but in doing so they have shown zero regard for the 89-year history and heritage of the iconic venue, nor the fact that regular visits to Brandon to watch these family sports remained a way of life for many thousands of people throughout the season, right up until the end of 2016.
In addition, the intransigence of the owners to engage in reasonable communication is a further indication of their motives, along with the material included within their official representations and public exhibition material – much of which is open to serious question.
At the Exhibition in October, comments from the public were invited by planning consultants Framptons. We have seen a number of these responses, and the local reaction is clear - but as with the 2014 Exhibition arising from the initial plans, they appear to be a closely-guarded secret at this time.
The display boards also indicated that an outline planning application would be submitted in Autumn 2017. At the time of writing, this has not taken place.
We do not know the reason for that, but we can assure Brandon Estates – and their front-man, Monaco-based businessman John Downer – that as soon as their planning application is submitted, we will be ready with strong opposition.
They must understand that they cannot simply take two major sports away from the region – sports which were both perfectly viable running in tandem at the stadium – merely on an outrageous speculative bid for development on land which had not been earmarked for that purpose, and expect everyone to sit back and let it happen.
Our Campaign Group came together in its present form in the immediate aftermath of Coventry’s exclusion from the 2017 SGB Premiership, and our primary aim was to bring about a return to racing at the stadium for 2018 as well as establishing plans for the long-term continuation of both sports in the area.
In those respects, we have regrettably been unsuccessful. The sheer depth of issues to be considered and resolved arising from the activities of recent years has been eye-opening in the extreme, and we have to respect the fact that the timescales of official business are sometimes longer than we would wish for.
We believe there is tremendous momentum behind our campaign and overwhelming opposition to Brandon Estates' proposals. So our work will go on into 2018, and there are various events and hearings in the early part of the New Year which will play a vital part in matters going forward.
Finally, we must emphasise to all who pass comment on the situation, often on social media, that the status of Brandon Stadium remains absolutely fundamental to the entire argument, and an acceptance that it has been lost to sport permanently is simply not an option.
We wish every supporter of Speedway and Stock Car Racing a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and we hope 2018 provides some encouragement to everyone who wishes to see our two famous sports restored to their rightful place.