THE Planning Inquiry regarding Brandon Stadium has now been completed with the closing statements from all parties being made on Tuesday November 28.
We are now in the hands of the Inspector, who must weigh up all of the evidence presented before delivering her verdict.
We expect that decision to come at some stage early in the New Year, and it would naturally be inappropriate for us to comment further on the Inquiry until that has taken place.
However, the completion of the Inquiry does mark a significant milestone in a Campaign which was started way back in 2014 when Brandon Estates first presented their proposals at the Village Hall, and was ramped up following the forced closure of the stadium in the winter of 2016/17.
An astonishing amount of work has taken place since then encompassing liaison with the Council and other interested parties, public meetings, preparation and submission of extensive documents, involvement in the court case against Brandon Estates, and of course the Planning Committee meeting in November 2022 and the Inquiry itself this autumn.
As an indication of the scale of the work, over the nine years we have held scores of meetings, with Rugby Council officers and Coventry Council officers, seven different Members of Parliament including one meeting in Westminster, with Local Borough Councillors, Parish Councillors, the West Midlands Mayor, the Enterprise Council, Sport England etc.
We have also had to build and maintain relationships at Rugby Council with two different CEOs, three different Council Leaders, two different Planning Case Officers and three different Heads of Growth & Investment.
We have kept the stadium in the public eye via many newspaper features, radio interviews and television coverage and kept local residents informed by hand-delivering newsletters to 1,000 homes on three occasions. We have staged three very successful public meetings and raised more than £22,000 in just one week to contribute towards the cost of legal representation at the Inquiry – not to mention the submission of our own planning application as an alternative to the Brandon Estates application.
All of this has taken place against the backdrop of our historic stadium, a top motorsports venue of huge international significance, being trashed amidst repeated security failures resulting in the owners being convicted for breaches of a Community Protection Notice.
We can honestly say that as a group of individuals who came together when the stadium was threatened and then closed, we could have done no more to oppose the developers’ scheme, and we have done so with a clear and organised strategy.
We want to say thank you to everyone who has assisted along the way. Whether that was attendance at a meeting, distributing letters, sending an objection, contributing to the legal fund, or any other involvement, you have all played a part in getting us this far and we are sincerely grateful.
Our thanks also to Richard Humphreys KC for his invaluable assistance and representation during the inquiry.
The support of the local community and the speedway and stock car family worldwide has inspired us throughout, and has ensured that we maintained the motivation never to give up.
We know there are thousands of people who will be anxiously awaiting the outcome of the Inquiry, which may also have a bearing on future strategies to maintain other established sporting venues threatened by development.
As has so often been the case, it’s now a waiting game – but once again, a massive thank you to everyone who has been involved in this fight.