COVENTRY Stadium owners Brandon Estates have appealed against a notice issued by Rugby Borough Council (RBC), claiming their security measures are up to scratch – despite travellers breaking into the stadium’s car park and setting fire to buildings, including one of the stadium’s former turnstile blocks.
Local residents called emergency services on the evening of Sunday January 7 to report two fires, which police are treating as arson.
A formal notice was issued by RBC to Brandon Estates in September, stating ‘Brandon Estates’ conduct is having a detrimental effect on the quality of life of others in the locality’.
The notice highlighted several requirements which Brandon Estates had to fulfil by October 9, including ‘adequately securing the site against access from unauthorised persons or groups, including gypsies or travellers’.
But Brandon Estates told The Observer security measures at the stadium comply with the notice.
The appeal follows months of uncertainty regarding the former speedway venue, which was purchased by Jersey-based Brandon Estates in 2015.
The stadium continued to operate for the 2016 season, but an off-track multi-party dispute during the 2016/17 off-season resulted in its closure.
Since Brandon Estates were handed the keys a year ago, the stadium has declined – with many fans questioning Brandon Estates’ commitment to securing the site.
Last summer, travellers broke into the stadium on two occasions – in early June and early September.
In June, Brandon Estates told The Observer: “The site has a specialist security system in place as recommended by our insurers.”
It was after the travellers appeared for a second time that RBC issued the former notice pursuant to Section 43 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014.
Responding to the notice, Brandon Estates dumped tonnes of earth outside the stadium to ‘improve security’.
An RBC spokesman said: “The council served a Community Protection Notice on Brandon Estates on September 26, 2017. The terms of the notice included securing the stadium site.
“Brandon Estates has lodged an appeal against the notice, with a court hearing scheduled to take place on February 6, 2018.
“However, talks between the council and Brandon Estates are continuing in an attempt to reach an amicable agreement to achieve compliance with the notice.”
A Save Coventry Speedway campaign spokesperson accused Brandon Estates of ‘continually failing with their security measures’ and ‘allowing local residents to be put at risk due to criminal activities’.
Brandon Estates has not responded to a request for comment.