THE Save Coventry Speedway & Stox Campaign Group send their compliments of the festive season to all supporters.
As we head towards a third year in which our sports will be absent from their rightful place, we want to assure everyone that our determination to see them return remains as high as ever.
There have been few formal developments since the Public Meeting in early November, but we have remained active and can confirm Rugby Council are now in receipt of even more information to counter the statements made by Framptons on behalf of Brandon Estates.
The Planning Application for Brandon Stadium was submitted in January 2018 but a date has still yet to be set for it to be taken to committee.
This will not take place until the completion of the government Inspectorâ€™s Report into the Rugby Local Plan (which we believe is imminent), or until the Council have received specialist sporting advice regarding the application itself and the myriad of responses opposing it.
We remain totally convinced that the Planning Application is intrinsically flawed as it fails to satisfy the criteria required for the development of established sporting venues under National Planning Policy Framework.
Framptons were required to submit further information making the case that there is no ongoing need for the two sports to be operating at Brandon (or in the immediate area). This was finally submitted after a five-month delay, and we made our views very clear both in our response to the Council and in our presentation at the Public Meeting.
Since then, it has been confirmed that there will be no Coventry Speedway team competing next season, giving a final answer to the ludicrous claims that the club was perfectly well accommodated at Leicester.
The stock car analysis was equally controversial, and we have submitted aerial photographs of all of the venues which Framptons claim could be alternatives to Brandon, which totally disproves their â€˜desk-top analysisâ€™ which contains very little in the way of actual evidence.
Additionally, if you were at the Public Meeting you will remember the case of Perry Barr, which is listed in Framptonsâ€™ covering letter to their Needs Analysis as a possible alternative venue, on the basis that it stages â€œsimilar kinds of uses.â€
That statement is incredible enough if you know Perry Barr, but even more extraordinarily the stadium is then included in a list of current, active stock car venues during the content of the Needs Analysis, leading to a completely inaccurate mathematical exercise over the total number of venues.
In addition to the responses which had already been submitted pointing out the fallacies of these statements, we have now been able to submit the actual planning documentation from Birmingham City Council granting permission for speedway to be staged at the stadium from 2007.
This makes it quite clear that no motorsport with the exception of speedway can be staged at the venue.
In our view it is totally unacceptable that a Planning Application and associated documents seeking to destroy an iconic, successful and viable sporting venue, where there is a clear case of ongoing need, can be so disgracefully deficient.
There have been numerous other responses to the Needs Assessment, including from both the speedway (BSPA) and stock car (BRISCA and BSCDA) governing bodies, all of which highlight the inaccuracies and untruths contained within, and stress the importance of Brandon to their sports.
Framptons have also been forced to withdraw a section of the report relating to Coventry Racing Club and the negotiations which did or did not take place in 2016, and this also has an impact on the Turley (viability) report submitted in January which made the same incorrect assertion.
It is the belief of the Campaign Group that both the original Planning Application and the subsequent Needs Assessment documents are absolutely riddled with inaccurate, misleading and untruthful statements, and we have therefore considered making a formal complaint to the Royal Town Planning Institute under Sections 11 (Accuracy) and 12 (Errors and mis-statements) of their Ethics and Professional Standards Advice document.
We have decided however, as Rugby Council have committed to the appointment of an independent body to look into the various claims and our response to those claims, we will defer a decision until the independent body completes their investigation.
We already have meetings confirmed for the early part of the New Year where we will be seeking assurances over the exact process going forward.
We will be ready for any situation and can assure Framptons and Brandon Estates that our opposition will only increase until they do the right thing and agree that the sports should be allowed to return.
We do ask all supporters to stay as positive as possible â€“ we have a huge amount of firm evidence in our favour, and we will keep fighting for as long as it takes.
The Campaign Group wishes you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and please be assured we will update you as soon as there is further news.
*FOLLOWING the news that Coventry Bees would not be racing in 2019, we were asked by the Coventry Telegraph on December 4 to provide a statement.
As only half of that statement was printed, we now reproduce it in full:
We stated when the Bees were accepted into the National League, running at Leicester, that we could only offer our full support if we could be convinced that this was part of a genuine plan for the club to eventually return to its rightful location.
It is patently obvious from the most recent planning documentation that the developers were happy to regard Leicester as an appropriate long-term solution, in an attempt to absolve them of any responsibility to provide an alternative in the Coventry/Rugby area should they receive permission to build on Brandon.
Although the club has issued no statement, the Bees have not been included in the list of National League starters for 2019, which will be largely down to the poor attendances and associated losses suffered this year â€“ none of which comes as any surprise, and does not lessen the demand for speedway or stock car racing in the area.
This totally invalidates the representations of Framptons, who argued in their initial application in January that Leicester was â€œbetter suited to its use as a speedway stadium for a number of reasons including its accessibility...â€ and their subsequent remarks claiming that alternative provision for the previous speedway use at Brandon had been satisfactorily made, along with their inaccurate analysis of alternative stadia for both sports.
The failure of the Coventry Bees project at Leicester merely highlights the totally unsatisfactory nature of that solution, and the clear ongoing need for the club to be operating in the Coventry/Rugby area.
The Planning Application continues to directly contradict the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework with regard to sports facilities, and the developers must not be permitted to proceed on that basis. The absence of Coventry from competition in 2019 in no way changes that position.