THE Campaign Group have now submitted their representations to Rugby Borough Council regarding the Brandon Estates planning application.
It has been necessary to prepare a lengthy submission in order to not only deal with the deficiencies of the application in technical terms, but also to correct numerous assertions made throughout the planning material which are either misleading or simply incorrect, and to also present an accurate timeline of the events of recent years.
We have objected to the planning application on a total of eleven grounds. These are listed in the Executive Summary below.
Each of those eleven grounds has its own section in our main document, and many give rise to other issues as the arguments are developed.
We are particularly critical of the Turley Report on viability, and the Sustainability Appraisal, as neither present a fair or accurate appraisal of the position of the stadium when acquired by Brandon Estates – or at the end of 2016 – and both are entirely tailored to fit the applicant’s own criteria rather than providing an objective view or considering other suitable options.
Other key sections refer to the damage done to the stadium since 2017; local and national policy concerning designated sports venues; the Green Belt status of the site; the negative impact of development on the area; and a wide range of other associated issues.
The main document is backed up by further information in appendices as follows, many of which confirm that information in various parts of the planning application is seriously deficient or incorrect:
• A brief introduction to the Campaign Group, our motives and our members.
• Information previously published by the applicant which is directly contradictory to material in their planning application.
• A 20-page document entitled ‘The Systematic Damage to the Iconic Brandon Stadium’ which is a full pictorial timeline of events since November 2016 and clearly shows how Brandon Estates have been seeking to benefit from their own lack of security on-site and the damage which has therefore been caused. Here we also include the outstanding response to our recent appeal for tradesmen/women.
• Professional information relating to the business position of the stadium (staging speedway and stock car racing) under the previous owners.
• Analysis and confirmation of the number of UK speedway venues over a 20-year period.
• ‘Brandon Stadium – A Brief History’ – a 15-page document with pictures summarising the history of the stadium, the major events staged there for both speedway and stock cars, and its overwhelming importance to the local community.
• The Campaign Group’s objections made to the local plan review.
• Examples of major coverage in local, national and trade press.
Our full submission, including appendices, runs to 80 pages, and provides a compelling argument not only for the rejection of the planning application but also for the stadium to be retained, re-furbished and re-opened.
The timescale of the planning application is not known at this stage, but we have registered to speak at the official hearing.
Our thanks to all speedway and stock car supporters from all over the world, official bodies and competitors of both sports, and the many local residents who have submitted their objections to this scheme to destroy one of the UK’s most famous oval motorsport venues.
Below is the Executive Summary which forms the opening of our submission:
The Save Coventry Speedway and Stox Campaign is an umbrella grouping of people who wish to see the long heritage of Speedway and Stock Car Racing in Coventry / Rugby continue, and be returned to the iconic Brandon (aka Coventry) Stadium as soon as possible.
The Save Coventry Speedway and Stox Campaign wishes to place on record the strongest possible objections to Planning Application R18/0186, which would result in the loss and redevelopment of Brandon Stadium. The grounds of objections are as follows:
1. The proposals are directly contrary to the provisions of both the existing development plan (the Core Strategy, adopted 2011) and its emerging review (the Rugby Borough Local Plan, 2011-2031, Publication Draft, September 2016).
2. The housing proposals conflict with the Green Belt designation of the site.
3. The housing proposals are contrary to the provisions of national planning policy, which seeks to protect sports facilities from development.
4. 'Fixing Our Broken Housing Market' and ‘Planning for Growth’ provide no grounds to support the housing proposals.
5. Brandon Stadium was, and remains, a viable use for the site.
6. Brandon Stadium remains the best site for Speedway and Stock Car Racing in Rugby Borough, and the failure of the owners in their obligations to secure the site is the only reason that has led to significant damage to the buildings since January 2017.
7. Brandon Stadium has a rich and long heritage reaching back to 1928 which should be treasured and protected.
8. The redevelopment of Brandon Stadium will result in the destruction of one of the most important tourist facilities in Rugby Borough.
9. The applicants have failed to demonstrate the viability of their proposals.
10. The proposals are premature and should be considered through the Development Plan process.
11. The Sustainability Appraisal and associated background material accompanying the planning application is deficient and does not provide sufficient basis to support the new housing proposals.
In the following report and accompanying appendices we set out the reasoned and measured arguments in support of each of the above objections. We believe that the grounds of objection outlined above against Brandon Estates’ aggressive and predatory housing proposals are weighty, and present a compelling case for planning permission for the redevelopment of Brandon Stadium for new housing to be refused.
The Save Coventry Speedway and Stox Campaign accordingly and respectfully calls upon Rugby Borough Council to embrace the long and rich sporting heritage to reject the planning application which would lead to the loss of one of the most iconic sports stadiums in the country.
In the – hopefully unlikely - event that Rugby Borough Council might be persuaded to look favourably on residential development on the site of Brandon Stadium, the Save Coventry Speedway and Stox Campaign would strongly urge the current planning application to be refused, with the applicant being advised that they should only re-apply subject to the obligation to provide an alternative replacement stadium of comparable quality being proposed for consideration in tandem.
Finally, we note that Rugby Borough Council’s Corporate Strategy 2017-20 strapline is ‘Proud of our past, fit for the future.’ We respectfully call upon them to apply this principle when making their decision on this planning application.