THE Save Coventry Speedway & Stox Campaign Group are pleased to announce our intention to submit a planning application to Rugby Borough Council - which would encompass the return of motorsports to Brandon Stadium.
The planning application will form part of a new Masterplan for the site aimed at its restoration for racing, and the addition of several other uses all in keeping with its status as a celebrated sports venue.
It is important to clarify that under planning law, ownership of a site is not required in order to submit a planning application, and it is on this basis that the application will be made.
We must also stress that the initial phases of the Masterplan, to restore the site for sporting use and to facilitate the returns of speedway and stock car racing, do not specifically form part of the planning application – as these are already the established uses of the site, a position which has remained unchanged over recent years, and therefore no Change of Use permission is required.
This Newsletter provides not only the details of our plans but also an update on events at the venue since its forced closure. Once again, we are the only group to communicate seriously with those most affected by the disgraceful condition of the stadium.
It was distributed in hard copy to approximately 1,000 local residents on Wednesday, as this forms part of a Consultation process. The main structure of the planning application has been prepared, but the views of the residents will be taken into account before final submission.
Naturally, commencement of the Masterplan would also ensure a 24/7 security presence on the site, immediately ending the years of misery suffered by residents caused by inadequate and then non-existent security measures.
In addition to the core business of speedway and stock car racing, we envisage that several other uses of the site are possible, and it is these which will form the basis of the planning application under Phase IV of the Masterplan.
We propose three specific Changes of Use:
1. Hangar No.1 (front of stadium) would be converted into a Museum celebrating the history of speedway and stock car racing at the venue. This would be an additional visitor attraction and could also be used for speedway rider signings and new stock car launches.
2. The current under-stand bar area would be converted into a gymnasium and training centre, incorporating fitness and physiotherapy/treatment areas. It is envisaged that the Great Britain Speedway Team would make this their national base, with facilities also available to the Coventry Bees riders and to local sports teams, as well as to the general public when not in official use.
3. The existing dog kennel building would be converted into a bar and catering outlet serving visitors to the museum, gymnasium users, and those making use of meeting facilities elsewhere in the stadium.
In addition to these Changes of Use, we propose a cycle trail around the stadium site; the resurfacing of the current greyhound track to provide a cycle training facility open to the local community; other cycle-related activities including proficiency training and maintenance; and a proposal for equine events on the track infield, for which interest has already been expressed.
Campaign Group spokesman Jeff Davies said: “It is well known that since the forced closure of the stadium by the developers in 2017, opposition to their plans has been unprecedented.
“This has resulted in their planning application, submitted well over three years ago, being largely ridiculed, and not just by ourselves – the findings of the Independent Report commissioned by the Council were damning for the developers.
“However, it has also been fair to question whether there are realistic alternative proposals involving the return of sport, especially given the condition the developers have enabled the stadium to fall into.
“This planning application emphatically answers that question, by laying out a careful scheme of proposals which are entirely deliverable and add to the overall viability of the site without any disturbance to the nearby residents and the village as a whole.
“We also take great encouragement from the recent example of Bradford, where a huge community effort has resulted in Odsal Stadium being made ready for stock car racing this year, alongside the return of the Bradford Bulls Rugby League team – achieved in a major elite sports stadium.
“Similar work will no doubt take place at Oxford with the welcome news that the stadium is to be restored for sporting use next year after extensive efforts by the Council and support groups to resist proposals for housing.
“Whilst accepting the current condition of Brandon is far worse, it is a clear indication of how the motorsport community is prepared to come together, and I have no doubt a similar reaction would result here – as we have already seen with the incredible response to our appeal for tradespeople.”
We can confirm we have received full endorsement of these plans from Warren Hunter (Huntapac Ltd) – whose offer to buy the stadium remains undetermined by the developers despite having been made over a year ago.
We urge the local and wider sporting community to get behind these proposals, and Rugby Council to take a proactive view and seize the opportunity to support a scheme which would end four-and-a-half years of misery for all concerned.