WE are aware that speedway and stock car fans are understandably desperately keen to hear updates on efforts to bring their sports back to the Coventry area.
As a Campaign Group we have been clear from the outset that we will not publish stories of false hope, and that information will only come into the public domain from us when it is confirmed.
We cannot, at this stage, offer any certainty that matters have progressed with regards to a return to racing next season.
This is despite a succession of meetings and conversations, both as a Group and with a number of local authorities and other interested parties.
Over the course of the last six months, numerous attempts have been made - both directly and indirectly - to make contact with the stadium owners, Brandon Estates Ltd, in a bid to find a mutually beneficial way forward.
The lack of any kind of positive reaction to these efforts, which were specifically designed to involve third parties with no connection to the initial dispute, makes their position clear.
Much time has already been wasted on a police enquiry whilst the stadium was fancifully labelled a crime scene; whilst a subsequent incursion onto the land by travellers resulted in an immediate statement of convenience that local residents are now suddenly desperate for planning to be granted.
Despite receiving information that a planning application was “imminent” some months ago, there has been no evidence of this having taken place.
Brandon Estates Ltd, as owners of the stadium, are now presiding over an embarrassment of a situation where there are no winners:
* The stadium site does not appear on the Rugby Local Plan. This significantly lessens the chances of planning being granted in advance of the next review of the local plan which is at least five years away, leaving Brandon Estates Ltd to deal with the expenses of maintaining the land over that time;
* Coventry Speedway have an ‘on ice’ promotion and no stadium to race in;
* CoventryStox are, from August, staging their meetings ‘on tour’ at venues far away from Coventry;
* Most importantly, thousands of supporters of both speedway and stock car racing have, after a miserable winter of recriminations, had their sports scandalously taken away from them, putting a halt to decades of history at one of the most famous oval venues in the country.
We must place on record the fact that throughout our numerous discussions and meetings with various local authorities, all have been fully accommodating, understanding of the issues, and have stated their willingness to help.
We do also have to add, however, that at this stage there is not total unanimity amongst those authorities as to the best way of resolving the issues, and in the near future we will be seeking to bring things together in this respect.
Our top priority as a Group is for the return of racing to the Coventry area as soon as possible, and for it to have a sustainable, long-term future.
The issue of potential housing development at Brandon is clearly not un-related, but it is important that the two matters are not confused and end up being played off against each other.
We would like to assure supporters of both sports that although little information is emerging at present, this does not that mean nothing is happening behind the scenes.
We will continue to explore every possible way of bringing OUR sports back, and for that we need everyone backing the efforts. Any negativity simply plays into the hands of those who would rather see us go away – and that is not going to happen.
We will attend the forthcoming Public Examination to give evidence in support of the representations we made to the Rugby Local Plan, and we will resist to the best of our abilities any planning applications seeking to develop or change the use of Brandon Stadium in advance of a replacement being secured.