CAMPAIGNERS are hoping to launch a community-led project to restore Brandon Stadium to its former glory after controversial plans to build 124 homes at the site were thrown out.
Rugby Borough Council’s planning committee unanimously rejected the plan to demolish the motorsports stadium – the former home of the Coventry Bees speedway team – to make way for the homes, even though it had been recommended for approval by officers.
Jeff Davies, from the Coventry Speedway and Stox campaign group – which has been campaigning for the venue’s future since its closure back in 2016 – said six years of hard work had ‘come to fruition’.
He said: “We have always argued a sports pitch in no way compensates for the loss of the motorsports stadium, and we’re very grateful too for the support of Sport England who also reiterated that point recently.
“The speedway owners, Brandon Estates, could appeal to the Secretary of State. We would urge them to reflect on their decision to buy what was a fully operational, viable motorsports venue with an unrivalled history and heritage, intending to demolish it to build a new housing estate.
“We have tremendous support from many local, national and international businesses who will support our exciting plans, as well as hundreds of people, many of them skilled tradesmen and women, who’ve committed to giving their time freely.”
At the planning meeting, Dave Carter on behalf of the campaign group said there was ‘no need for the development proposed from a housing perspective’.
And Revel and Binley Woods Ward Councillor Tony Gillias said the proposal was ‘essentially for a brand new village in the green belt’.
He said: “It does not conform to the National Planning Policy Framework and the associated local guidelines, as the application’s primary function is for housing and not for alternative sport, which would outweigh the loss of existing sport – and there is no identified need for the 3G pitch.”
Gareth Hooper, on behalf of planning agents DPP, spoke in favour of the proposals and said the redevelopment would replace a ‘vacant, derelict, previously developed site’ and highlighted the amendments made in the past four years, which included reducing the number of houses.
He added: “The proposals also have the support of many residents who signed them, removing an eyesore, addressing the risk posed by the current condition of the site, as well as providing needed affordable housing and community facilities.
“Critically, many of these supporters live directly opposite the site.”
Visit www.savecoventryspeedway.com for the latest on the campaign.