PLANNING consultants acting for Brandon Estates have been forced into the correction of a key paragraph of evidence from their most recent submission to Rugby Council.
Framptons recently completed a ‘Needs Assessment’ which seeks to make the case that Brandon Stadium is surplus to requirements in line with National Planning Policy.
In addition to the error-strewn report itself, an item in the covering letter accompanying the document raised major concerns, and has now been amended.
Those who attended our recent Public Meeting will be aware that Jeremy Heaver spoke briefly on behalf of Coventry Racing Club Ltd during the question and answer session.
Mr Heaver stated that having had sight of the most recent documentation, Coventry Racing Club had contacted Framptons to inform them they would take action against them should it not be withdrawn.
Co-incidentally, the day after the Public Meeting, Coventry Racing Club received an apology from Framptons together with a correction to paragraph 1.15 in their covering letter.
The paragraph concerned initially read:
“In mid-2016 negotiations between the applicant and Coventry Racing Club Ltd ensued with respect to agreeing a new lease for 2017 onwards.”
Framptons have now stated there was an error in the instructions received, and that the paragraph should have referred to mid-2016 negotiations with Coventry Speedway Ltd and not Coventry Racing Club Ltd.
We find this single retraction peculiar for a number of reasons, not least because the relevant paragraph appears in a section of the report entirely devoted to (and headed with) Coventry Racing Club Ltd.
It goes on to cast doubt over the financial position of Coventry Racing Club Ltd in a bid to explain why a lease deal was not agreed, and subsequently why they stopped running stock car events ‘on tour’ after four such meetings in 2017.
Coventry Racing Club Ltd have always disputed the notion that they were given the opportunity to agree a lease for 2017 and beyond, an issue we pointed out in our initial response to the planning application, and the correction of this paragraph has a major effect on the timeline of what followed later, leading up to the forced closure of the stadium.
Given that the Turley Report (focusing on viability) also contains the following paragraph, we assume that this should now also be amended:
1.13 …New lease/licence terms were offered to Coventry Speedway Limited (owners of Coventry Bees speedway team and racing licence holder) and Coventry Racing Club Limited (owners of Coventry Stox stock car/banger racing and associated licence holder) in mid-late 2016.
Any possible action taken by Coventry Racing Club Ltd against Framptons is not a matter for our concern, but we will be further scrutinising both the original and most recent documents to ascertain which items could now be further challenged as a result of this correction, and we will make the appropriate representations.
It is clear that if it is now accepted that Coventry Racing Club Ltd were in fact prevented from continuing as leaseholders, it totally invalidates sections of reports which state that no parties were willing to continue staging sporting events at the stadium beyond 2016, leading to the false narrative which states the stadium closed because no credible businesses wished to operate there.
This notwithstanding, we already have evidence of third parties who wished to discuss operating at Brandon in 2017/18, and the response they received from the owners, via Howell & Co Solicitors, under the guise of ‘willing engagement.’
The actual content of the ‘needs assessment’ – which embarrassingly attempts to argue that there is suitable alternative provision for both Coventry Bees speedway and stock car racing elsewhere - is another matter entirely, and one which was covered in great detail at the Public Meeting.
Members of the Campaign Group met with the Principle Planning Officer last week to take her through our concerns, and we have been reassured by Rugby Council’s pledge to seek independent, expert advice in order to investigate all documents to ensure that decisions are made in full knowledge of the facts.
We will be happy to co-operate with whoever is appointed to lead this enquiry, should that be required, and are absolutely confident that statements made in our representations are indisputable.
Brandon Estates, Framptons and Howell & Co should be aware that they cannot, and will not, be allowed to make statements which fail to present a fully accurate account of events both before and after the closure – and whose analysis of viability and alternative provision are both wholly unsatisfactory.
We have already shown that we have extensive documentary and photographic evidence to dispute, or dispel, many of their claims, several of which are made with no apparent understanding of the much-loved sports they are scandalously attempting to permanently evict from the area.
We will continue to challenge, in the strongest possible terms, any document which indicates there is no requirement for speedway and stock car racing in the Coventry/Rugby area, and that no parties are interested in operating.