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THE Campaign to Save Coventry Speedway and Stox has been given a double boost in the space of less than a week.
Rugby Borough Council announced yesterday (May 7) that their Local Plan had been given the green light by the Government Inspector, and this follows a referendum on the Brandon and Bretford Neighbourhood Plan last Thursday (May 2).
Crucially, the Inspector’s final report into the Rugby Local Plan will lead to a significant amendment which will further protect Brandon Stadium against development.
We are delighted to report that the Government Inspector recognised the importance of Brandon Stadium for both speedway and stock car racing, and that the lack of protection against the loss of sports facilities made the Local Plan initially ‘unsound’ requiring an amendment to be made.
The Inspector stated that there was a key omission in Policy HS4, referring to “the absence of any protection against the existing built sports facilities, which is necessary to ensure provision in the borough is not diminished over time.
“Paragraph 74 of the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) expects that existing open space, sports and recreational buildings and land should not be built on unless they are surplus to requirements, or would be replaced elsewhere by equivalent provision or by alternative sports and recreational provision.
“Policy HS4 as submitted includes these provisions for open space but not for built sports and recreational facilities.”
The Inspector then refers directly to Brandon Stadium and concludes that changes to the wording of Policy HS4 are required in order to be consistent with national policy for sports and recreational buildings in general.
He says: “Although many sports facilities are in public ownership, some are privately owned and therefore vulnerable to closure and redevelopment for alternative uses.
“I heard evidence at the hearings about the proposals for the residential redevelopment of the Brandon or Coventry Stadium, which was until recently in active use for speedway and stock car racing.
“The Plan would not be unsound without a specific policy to protect or allocate the stadium.
“However, the absence of a policy to safeguard existing sports and recreational buildings generally in the borough from being built on unless surplus to requirements or replaced elsewhere, in line with paragraph 74 of the NPPF, does render the Plan unsound.”
The Inspector has confirmed the revised wording published by RBC as draft modifications. For completeness, the relevant changes made to Policy HS4 of the plan are as follows, shown in bold and underlined:
Policy HS4: Open space, sports facilities and recreation
C. Public open space, sports and recreational buildings and land, including playing fields (REMOVED: assets identified) within the Open Space Audit evidence and/or defined on the (REMOVED: Proposals) Policies Map and/or last in sporting or recreational use (REMOVED: will be protected from development) should not be built upon unless:
• An assessment has been undertaken which has clearly shown the open space, building or land to be surplus to requirements; or
• it can be demonstrated that the loss resulting from the proposed development would be replaced by equivalent or better provision in terms of quantity and quality in a suitable location; or
• the development is for alternative sports and recreational provision, the needs for which clearly outweigh the loss.
The Inspectors’ Report recognises the case made by the Campaign Group at the Public Examination held last year and the time and effort taken.
It marks a significant milestone and should now allow the Campaign to move on as well as enabling the Council to consider – and hopefully reject – Brandon Estates’ planning application for housing redevelopment on the stadium site.
We currently await the report of the Independent Consultant appointed by Rugby Council to assess discrepancies between the planning documentation and the material provided by ourselves.
But this is perhaps an appropriate time to review the weight of evidence which is now stacked AGAINST the speculative Planning Application:
*Changes to the Rugby Local Plan instigated by a Government Inspector, who conducted his own site visit, resulting in the fact that the Plan now offers protection to existing sporting facilities where there is clear ongoing need.
*The Brandon and Bretford Parish Neighbourhood Plan, which was adopted at last week’s referendum, which clearly states that it is the wish of the community for the Brandon Stadium site to remain as a sports venue.
*A submission from 11 MPs/Lords, including four from the local area, urging Rugby Council to reject the Planning Application and support efforts to bring the sports back. This letter was drafted by MP for Rugby Mark Pawsey and other local MPs to sign were Colleen Fletcher, Jim Cunningham and Marcus Jones.
*Public consultation to the Planning Application resulted in an unprecedented response of over 1,800 letters and e-mails, all but seven of which called for the rejection of the planning application.
*The response included submissions from speedway riders and stock car drivers past and present, including World Champions, locally, nationally and internationally – as well as from the vast majority of local residents who view the iconic stadium as a much-loved local facility.
*A local newspaper poll in mid-2018 resulted in 96% of over 2,000 votes supporting the return of the sports to Brandon – fully endorsing the public consultation.
*Official bodies of both sports, including the BSPA, SCB, ACU, BriSCA and the BSCDA have all voiced their opposition to the plans.
*These comments were noted by Sport England, who raised a number of concerns with the applicant’s Viability Statement.
*The Campaign Group have made several significant submissions in response to planning material, highlighting with evidence an astounding number of errors, inaccuracies and untruths.
*Planning consultants Framptons have already been forced to withdraw a section of their Needs Assessment under threat of action from the former site owners as their account of the events of 2016 was found to be unsatisfactory.
Two-and-a-half years after speedway and stock cars were ejected from the stadium, with no serious consideration given to their future, the determination to see them return is stronger than ever.
The latest developments in the Rugby Local Plan and the Neighbourhood Plan add further weight towards the need for the rightful outcome to be reached in the speediest possible time.
As to what happens next, we believe that once the Independent Consultant’s report is received, it will enable the senior Planning Officer Erica Buchanan to complete her own report and recommendation for consideration by the Planning Committee. Though we have not had confirmation, we would reasonably expect that to take place in June or July of this year.

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This is all great news and very welcome.

I don't want to be a party pooper though but there is a huge turd in the way still here.

A stadium that has been effectively ransacked by previous Owners, vandalised by various individuals and Groups of individuals and a massive capital outlay required to get it in to any kind of condition to stage speedway or stocks again.

I do wonder if the most cost effective option may be to demolish and remove everything and then build from foundations up as Somerset / Leicester have done, slowly and steadily. It would NOT BE Brandon of old, but it may be a more cost effective and quicker way.

What is needed though are Stock Car and Speedway Promoter(s) and people to work together to create something new. As with other venues it may require Stocks to lead the way.

There is a huge amount of support and affection for the name and brand "Coventry Bees".

There are some great ideas starting to emerge at Clubs all round the UK from IOW / Eastbourne in the South through Leicester / Sheffield /Belle Vue and up to Glasgow further North; and  many other points in between, some of that marketing dust is required at Coventry and it'll need a Group not an individual I think to bring it to fruition.

My best wishes to the Bees.

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8 minutes ago, HGould said:

This is all great news and very welcome.

I don't want to be a party pooper though but there is a huge turd in the way still here.

A stadium that has been effectively ransacked by previous Owners, vandalised by various individuals and Groups of individuals and a massive capital outlay required to get it in to any kind of condition to stage speedway or stocks again.

I do wonder if the most cost effective option may be to demolish and remove everything and then build from foundations up as Somerset / Leicester have done, slowly and steadily. It would NOT BE Brandon of old, but it may be a more cost effective and quicker way.

What is needed though are Stock Car and Speedway Promoter(s) and people to work together to create something new. As with other venues it may require Stocks to lead the way.

There is a huge amount of support and affection for the name and brand "Coventry Bees".

There are some great ideas starting to emerge at Clubs all round the UK from IOW / Eastbourne in the South through Leicester / Sheffield /Belle Vue and up to Glasgow further North; and  many other points in between, some of that marketing dust is required at Coventry and it'll need a Group not an individual I think to bring it to fruition.

My best wishes to the Bees.

There is a lot of financial and manpower backing for the refurb of the facilities for if/when Brandon Estates see the error of their ways.

It seems that the Stadium was purchased without the necessary due diligence as to the planning possibilities on Brando Estate's part! 

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You have my best wishes for the return of Coventry 'Bees' to it's ancestral home. I sincerely hope that this can come to fruition.

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Moving forward slowly but surely.:t:

Big thanks to all at the Save Coventry Group for all their hard work.

 

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Positive news ,at least we have a chance now.chancer Horton is out of the way( I think) so full steam ahead the good ship Bees.

A great big thanks to the campaign group.

 

up the bees.

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Thanks to Gambo for keeping us updated its much appreciated.    Heres hoping for some even better news in the near future.!

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At long last could there be some light at the end of the tunnel and well done to the campaigning to all those involved.  Speedway needs teams of the stature of Coventy, Exeter, Cradley etc.

Regarding the state of Brandon, perhaps it may be best to start from the ground up.  Remembering the size of the land Brandon is on would it not be possible to do some tie up with a commercial partner who would build a Grandstand that had facilities incorporated that could be used throughout the week, i.e, Conference/Wedding venue, Gym, etc.

It may result in Brandon looking different from the facility that closed but going forward Coventry fans would have a stadium more suited to this century than the last one. 

Most importantly Bees fans would have a team on there own track to support.

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As Swindon do not appear to be using it, why not get a few trucks, go to Wales and pick up a prefab stadium?

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4 hours ago, a4poster said:

At long last could there be some light at the end of the tunnel and well done to the campaigning to all those involved.  Speedway needs teams of the stature of Coventy, Exeter, Cradley etc.

Regarding the state of Brandon, perhaps it may be best to start from the ground up.  Remembering the size of the land Brandon is on would it not be possible to do some tie up with a commercial partner who would build a Grandstand that had facilities incorporated that could be used throughout the week, i.e, Conference/Wedding venue, Gym, etc.

It may result in Brandon looking different from the facility that closed but going forward Coventry fans would have a stadium more suited to this century than the last one. 

Most importantly Bees fans would have a team on there own track to support.

...I wish them well and hope that there is indeed a future at the present site as I wish, also, at Cowley.

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On 5/10/2019 at 5:47 PM, naffer said:

Positive news ,at least we have a chance now.chancer Horton is out of the way( I think) so full steam ahead the good ship Bees.A great big thanks to the campaign group.

up the bees.

Does he not still own the name 'Coventry Bees'? :unsure:

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7 hours ago, Gemini said:

Does he not still own the name 'Coventry Bees'? :unsure:

No. I believe he lost the rights to the name as one of the consequences of failing to completed the NL Fixtures last year. :)

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7 hours ago, Gambo said:

No. I believe he lost the rights to the name as one of the consequences of failing to completed the NL Fixtures last year. :)

I do hope that is true, and that's last we  see of him in the sport.

I will always see his time at Brandon as a "huge blot" in the history of the Bees. Wouldn't wish him on any other club either.

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7 hours ago, Gambo said:

No. I believe he lost the rights to the name as one of the consequences of failing to completed the NL Fixtures last year. :)

Don't think that's right as some of the fixtures they failed to complete were Away matches?

As for Coventry be great to see them back especially as it looks like Cradley Heath have given up trying to find a new Track. Shown their programme for first meeting by a Heathen supporting friend and it appears that Mr Pearson and Patchett have confirmed they have decided to stop looking for new venue, happy to let someone else try and will just go season by season in National League.. 

 

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