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  1. 20 points
    Posted on the Peterborough City Council Planning Application Portal this morning, an objection by the BSPL and SCB. The following has appeared on Peterborough City Council planning portal: F.A.O: James Lloyd Dear Sir, REF No: 23/00412/OUT and No: 23/00400/OUT This response should be read in conjunction with our comments of September 2023, all of which remain on the record. Following the additional reports submitted on April 19 on behalf of AEPG regarding planned redevelopment of the East of England Showground site, resulting in the permanent loss of speedway, British Speedway Promoters’ Ltd (BSP) and the Speedway Control Bureau (SCB) wish to reaffirm our total opposition to the scheme. Additionally, we wish to make the following comments on the Leisure and Community Impact Assessment Report, as prepared by Collison & Associates Ltd. We refer specifically to Section 2 – Assessment of the Viability of Speedway. We have no comment to make on the nature of the lease arrangement for Peterborough Speedway to operate at the East of England Showground; however, it is clear that a sport which ran continuously at the venue from 1970 until its closure (with the exception of one season due to Covid) meant that it was fully established and accepted in the city, and well supported. In addition to Peterborough Panthers meetings, the venue staged numerous national and international events, bringing the world’s top riders to the area. Consequently, it is even more disappointing that when alternative plans for the site were being formulated, no thought appears to have been given to the possibility of re-locating the Panthers, which we submit contravenes National Planning Policy Framework, which specifically protects sport and recreation facilities where there is a continuing need. Attention is drawn to the final paragraph of page 11 which states “Anecdotal evidence from British Speedway” which we would respectfully suggest should ring an immediate alarm bell. There is no evidence whatsoever, either on our own website or elsewhere, to suggest that the vast majority of a speedway crowd is not made up of supporters of the home team. There is an attempt to suggest that because a rally in November 2022 attracted around 350 supporters, this was reflective of the Peterborough fan-base, which is a ludicrous position to take. Rather than quote ‘anecdotal evidence’ we would ask why the authors of this report have not communicated with ourselves to establish the true position. The authors have provided no evidence to back up their claims as to the average attendance at the East of England Arena, which has in fact been substantially higher than 1,000 in recent seasons, and the reference to declining attendance in autumn is also a work of fiction, given that meetings which are staged in autumn tend to be important play-off fixtures, hence in autumn 2021 when Peterborough clinched the league title, attendances were in fact at their highest level in years. Page 12 also quotes “national evidence shows speedway is a declining sport” and goes on to make reference to a Guardian item published in 2019. Many of the arguments which follow have already been disproven in the recent public inquiry into the closure of Brandon Stadium, Coventry, which also quoted the same document, and we urge careful studying of the Coventry case. In particular, the section concerning TV figures is an inaccurate and disingenuous reflection of the position, and also takes no note of the current very successful arrangement with Eurosport/discovery+ as well as live streaming with the sport recording significantly increased viewing figures over recent years. Material in this section has been largely copied and pasted from other planning reports, which have been disproven elsewhere and accepted as inaccurate by their author. Page 12 also includes a bizarre and frankly irrelevant section relating to meetings being affected by the weather. It is also inaccurate, given that the NDL Final in 2023 was not between Mildenhall and Leicester – it was between Oxford and Leicester. Speedway, like any sport and particularly motorsport, can of course be affected by the weather, but the argument of “forcing paying attendees home without witnessing any matches” ignores the point that attendees would be allowed into the re-staging free of charge (or paying a proportionate admission should a meeting be abandoned during the event). The statement “This risk exists as conditions are only fully known once riders attempt riding the track, with the NDL final being called off after a leading rider suffered an accident” is completely false as the NDL final proceeded in satisfactory conditions, there was an accident in the 12th race out of 15 which was not related to the track being “slippery”, and then in the period whilst the rider was being attended to, heavy rain did move in and it was therefore not possible to continue. The result was then declared according to the provisions of the rulebook based on the races which had taken place. This section appears to have been included to ‘pad out’ the report, and to give the impression that the authors have some knowledge of the sport, because it has absolutely no relevance to the issue under discussion. The closures of Wolverhampton and Swindon are referred to, and these are also matters which we would take issue with. The argument of speedway shale reaching the greyhound track at Wolverhampton was only made some time after the closure notice had been given, in response to a public backlash. Speedway and greyhound racing do exist in the same stadium elsewhere in the country at venues such as Birmingham and Sheffield. Entain simply took a decision which was hugely unpopular locally in order to further boost their profits. Swindon Speedway was not in an unviable financial position, and we would be happy to discuss the very specific circumstances of that club and that venue should you wish to take the matter further. Across pages 13 and 14, Collison & Associates Ltd make reference to the argument that speedway at Peterborough is unnecessary due to the “alternative provision” available at King’s Lynn and Leicester. We say this is totally false. There is no evidence that the closure of one club results in supporters of that team transferring their allegiances elsewhere. It is the equivalent of Manchester United FC being closed down on the basis that supporters could instead visit Liverpool – or, on a lower level, Peterborough Utd being closed down with supporters instead told to go and support Leicester, Northampton or Cambridge. The argument is a total non-starter, and again has been proven to be factually incorrect in the Coventry case. Reference to Mildenhall Speedway is again irrelevant in this case as this was a club operating in the third tier, the development league, and whilst we do hope to welcome them back into the sport in future, their position should not be equated in any way with that of the loss of a Premiership club such as Peterborough. In conclusion, the narrative of this report (namely the assertion that speedway is a sport in terminal decline) is rather lazily copied and pasted from previous planning applications which have either not been determined (Arena-Essex) or have been accepted by an Inquiry Inspector to be untrue (Coventry). We would also like to take issue with recent media comments made by Mr Butterfield of AEPG which are intended to create the impression that speedway at the Showground was never viable, and that the objections to his plans are from a “small cohort” of people, remarkably describing them as “selfish.” He appears upset that the thousands of objections are delaying his bid to get spades into the ground and houses built. We would suggest that a sport which operated for 53 years (despite Mr Butterfield incredibly stating that “its home was never here”) was quite clearly viable for all concerned, and perhaps the only time when it did not become viable for the owners of the site was when they had removed all other events from the venue. Mr Butterfield should also be aware, as doubtless the members of the planning committee will be, that large sections of the report, and indeed his own statements, are irrelevant as viability is not a material consideration in the National Planning Policy Framework. NPPF instead puts the onus on the developer to prove that the displaced sport/land/activity is “surplus to requirements”, which is not the same as viability, and this exercise clearly has not been undertaken here. One way in which AEPG could ensure their scheme was compliant with National Planning Policy Framework would be to provide an alternative venue, in the Peterborough area, for the sport which they have evicted, or indeed to modify their own plans to support its retention at the Showground. However, as things stand, we believe there is no way this proposal should be accepted – or, realistically, even taken to planning committee – whilst the reports are so deficient and so full of falsehoods about our sport. Regards Nikki Jameison Neil Vatcher BSP OFFICE MANAGER SCB CO-ORDINATOR 2 M: 07868 466818 T: 01788 560648 E: nikki.jameison@britishspeedway.co.uk W: www.britishspeedway.co.uk British Speedway Promoters Ltd : ACU House : Wood Street : Rugby : CV21 2YX
  2. 7 points
    It’s really getting beyond a joke when reserves can’t make GB. meetings.Absolutely nothing against the riders it’s the way Speedway’s run in GB.Hardly any fixtures yet still filled with guests and they wonder about negative comments about the sport in GB.
  3. 6 points
    Fricke proving he should have had the wild card.
  4. 6 points
    Rumour doing the rounds they are going to send out Rohan Tungate who will test the track and make a decision on conditions.
  5. 6 points
    An absolute disgrace (Speedways policy not specifically Oxford) Firstly only refunding to 10 heats is abysmally bad Secondly the £1 per heat refund formula was introduced when the cost breached the £15 barrier but hasn't been revised despite the standard cost rising by 50% Will only encourage more and more to keep their money in their pocket on a Speedway night....
  6. 6 points
    Correct - don't see it being allowed beyond November
  7. 5 points
    That tonight can never be called boringly predictable
  8. 5 points
    credit to Fricke he made him work for it,
  9. 5 points
  10. 5 points
    BSN have clarified that subscribers get another meeting. Meetings only count towards the quota if they reach heat 10. Another feather in BSN's cap,
  11. 5 points
    Let's not forget we are very lucky to have speedway at Oxford and most weeks as well. When I think back to how the track was in the 80's and particularly the 90's - it was frankly diabolical. In most meetings you were lucky to get an overtake after heat 5! Since the re-opening and especially this year, we have had some fantastic racing throughout the meetings. The track prep has been spot-on. They seem to have more shale on the outside and rip it up to provide more than one racing line Also, I was never a fan of 2nd division speedway but at Oxford I am a convert. As to last night, I was in Cowley all afternoon and the rain forecast for 3pm did not happen. I have no idea if the track was watered but it was certainly dry and dusty at the start. The rain only started at 19.30 and was a very thick drizzle which seems to soak everything as much as torrential rain and it did not stop. I've no idea what it looked like on TV but In my opinion (being there) the track was dangerous at the end and the referee had no option but to cancel the meeting. Maybe wet-weather tyres would have helped! In addition, I was in the packed bar at the end and nobody there critisised what happened. So, onwards and up upwards and I look forward to the meeting next Wednesday
  12. 5 points
    The ones who are confused are the BSPL and Poole! Yes it appears that the name of Poole’s meeting is now being changed to make it sound like the Development Series and not the NLRC. But that’s not what they announced! How can the fans be expected to willingly attend a meeting and part their money when the authorities can’t even tell us conclusively what the meeting is for
  13. 5 points
    If every meeting was called off at the mere hint of rain then not much speedway would run at all in the UK. Sometimes it goes for you, sometimes it doesn't. That's the nature of a weather dependent sport in a country with generally unsettled weather. Forecasts are frequently incorrect and often different forecasters offer completely contradictory forecasts. Oxford gave it a good go last night and if the rain had held off for just another 30 or 45 minutes then the meeting would likely have completed without issue. That's the way it goes. The better question might be how can bikes or tyres be adapted to better cope in wet/icy conditions?
  14. 4 points
    Well I am woke. As are most decent people. It means being aware, especially of social problems such as racism and inequality, injustice, sexism, and denial of LGBT rights. If you don’t agree with that you are a not a very nice person, to put it mildly.
  15. 4 points
    Another boring GP. I didn't bother watching as I knew the result. Laguta is the only man capable of beating Zmarzlik and he has been banned by the woke FIM.
  16. 4 points
    Brilliant Smarzlik no other rider can do these moves.
  17. 4 points
    No chance Woffy gets another pick unless the 2nd half of this season is a complete turn around. It's done and would imagine it'll be curtains at Wroclaw unless the same happens. No sentiment in Poland.
  18. 4 points
    And Bewley, most definitely, isn't a gating tart...
  19. 4 points
  20. 4 points
    DJ Woffy heading off to the nightclub early again tonight
  21. 4 points
    Tai will find all the answers he needs in the mirror.
  22. 4 points
    A league that should use guests surely? Track time for as many as is possible has to be the main priority..
  23. 4 points
    Not forgetting another excellent submission by SPORT ENGLAND who are also playing a superb supporting role http://plandocs.peterborough.gov.uk/PublicDocuments/01342680.pdf
  24. 4 points
    I think Workington have a pretty good excuse. NONE of their riders are available - because they are all riding for Workington at Oxford.
  25. 4 points
    By contrast, the track didn't look soft at all. It was hard and slick which unfortunately meant that the steady rain caused issues. Sometimes the weather goes your way, sometimes it doesn't. Had the rain held off for another 30 to 45 minutes then the meeting would have been completed without issue. Oxford tried their best and credit to them for that. If every meeting was called off at the mere hint of rain then not much speedway would run at all in the UK - certainly not during the current period of extremely unsettled weather!
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