WITH the consultation period following the Brandon Estates planning application now concluded, we are delighted to confirm Rugby Borough Council received an unprecedented response.
Representatives of the Save Coventry Speedway and Stox Campaign Group met with the Principle Planning Officer Erica Buchanan on Wednesday March 14 and would like to thank her for making time to meet us.
As the consultation period had closed on March 1, Ms Buchanan was able to reveal to us the response to the planning application to redevelop Brandon Stadium.
Incredibly, a total of around 1,800 submissions were made to the council, with almost unanimous opposition to the proposal.
In fact, just SEVEN submissions supported the proposal - and the majority of those cited the frequent incursions by gypsies and fact that the stadium is currently an eyesore, which of course is entirely attributable to the developer's complete failure to properly secure the site.
The scale of the response is unheard of in this area, and demonstrates the love people have for the iconic Brandon Stadium. This was not a petition – this was 1,800 people who took the time and trouble to write a letter to the Council and express their opposition to proposals to redevelop the stadium.
We were advised that letters of objection had come from all over the world. Examples included a letter from a Commander of a submarine and a Professor from a Cancer Research Centre in New York, who always attended Brandon during frequent visits to the UK. Other letters came from Australia, from Denmark and from the stock car drivers of the Netherlands who made the annual trek to race at Brandon. Another letter came from speedway legend Barry Briggs who, despite being in Mexico, took time out to make an impassioned plea to save Brandon.
These objections from the corners of the world and even the depths of the ocean, demonstrate the international significance of Brandon Stadium.
Letters of objection came from speedway and stock car supporters in the area; from fans nationwide who were regular visitors to the stadium; from many former and current speedway riders and stock car drivers; and from the governing bodies of both speedway racing (the ACU, SCB and BSPA) and Stock Cars (BriSCA, BSCDA).
Crucially, the vast majority of local residents object to the proposed redevelopment and want to see the stadium remain as a motorsport venue, as it has been for 90 years.
We also know of four Members of Parliament who submitted their own objections: Mark Pawsey (Rugby), Marcus Jones (Nuneaton & Bedworth), Colleen Fletcher (Coventry North East) and Jim Cunningham (Coventry North West).
With regard to the likely timescale of activity, clearly there is a huge volume of material to collate and review before Ms Buchanan makes her recommendation to be taken forward to the Planning Committee.
Due to the complexity of the case this recommendation should not be expected before late May at the very earliest, and Ms Buchanan has offered to keep us informed.
The next significant event is the second stage of hearings into the Rugby Local Plan, which are scheduled to take place from April 17 to April 27. Our understanding is that Brandon will be discussed during these hearings.
Representatives from the Campaign Group will be in attendance and members of the public do have the opportunity to attend in a non-speaking capacity. We will advise further when we receive details of when the subject of Brandon is likely to be raised.
Finally, our sincere thanks to each and every person who made a submission. The response has again proved beyond all doubt what Brandon Stadium means to the local and wider sporting community – and why we are fighting so hard to retain it.