IT is now an appropriate time to address some of the current speculation concerning Brandon Stadium.
Rumours have been rife over recent weeks, both on social media and at the limited events which are taking place around the country, that the stadium has been sold and that a return to sporting activity is essentially a ‘done deal.’
Regrettably, we can confirm that the stadium has not been sold, nor is any agreement in place for this to happen.
However, we can also state publicly for the first time that an offer to buy the stadium, for it to be restored for sporting use, has been made and is awaiting a response.
The interested party is an extremely credible individual. He is the Managing Director of a well-established family business with an annual turnover in excess of £50m, and has a particular interest in motorsports.
He first showed an interest in acquiring the stadium shortly after January 2017 when it was closed by current owners Investin plc (Brandon Estates), and is undaunted by the current condition of the venue.
The offer, of which Rugby Council are aware, was formally submitted in May 2020 following a site visit in which he saw first-hand the deterioration which has taken place since the stadium last changed hands.
At this stage, the offer has been neither accepted nor rejected. It remains to be seen whether there is any preparedness on the part of Investin to enter negotiations.
What it does show, however, is that the claims made throughout Investin’s planning application and subsequent documents - specifically that none of the parties interested in acquiring the stadium were credible, and that the cost of reinstatement made a return for the stadium to motorsports use prohibitive - are completely false.
It also demonstrates that the campaign to save the iconic stadium has always had an ‘end game.’ With the resources and enthusiasm of the individual making the offer, and the goodwill of thousands of people and businesses, many of whom have offered their skills, materials and expertise to help rebuild the stadium, the prospect of the two sports returning to Brandon is a very real one.
This potential purchaser has twice previously made enquiries about the stadium, in 2017 and 2018, although on both occasions he was discouraged from taking the matter further as it was clear from the response that the developers wished to pursue their planning application and project a narrative that there was no significant interest.
Since then, Investin’s planning application for housing redevelopment and associated documents – including the Sports Needs Assessment – have been ridiculed, first by the Campaign Group and then significantly last summer by an independent consultant appointed by the council.
The current offer is different because it arises following discussions held in the wake of the independent report, and with the site visit having taken place and been authorised by the developers.
No further documents have been submitted on behalf of Investin since the independent report, so their overall strategy and proposed next steps remain a matter of speculation.
But in the meantime we wanted to assure the many thousands of speedway and stock car fans, and indeed the local residents who have been so badly affected, that there IS concrete interest in the stadium, an offer IS on the table, and the interested party is NOT put off by the condition of the venue he would be purchasing.
Finally, we would like to repeat our appeal to supporters, and indeed the general public, to please refrain from entering the stadium. The buildings are dangerous in their current state, and the incursions quite rightly upset local residents who have been subjected to criminal damage taking place virtually on their doorsteps.
We want to get the stadium back, and continued trespassing does nothing to help achieve that aim. Please remember that despite the obvious security failings, the stadium is a private property.
Once again, we urge all parties to bring about a positive resolution to a saga which has now been ongoing for over three-and-a-half years and stress that as a campaign group, we will not rest until speedway and stock car racing are restored.