THE Campaign Group acknowledges the article published in the Coventry Telegraph on September 5, which includes speculation over new land for a stadium.
Although disappointed with some of the content, we have no issues whatsoever with the Telegraph reporting the information they have been given.
It is important to stress that a return to Brandon – however unlikely – is not completely ruled out at this stage.
The Rugby 5-Year plan has been submitted to the Secretary of State and does not include the redevelopment of Brandon. Should a speculative application for planning be submitted by Brandon Estates Ltd – which we have been led to believe will be the case for some time – their next step upon rejection is unknown at present.
Unfortunately, given the complete unwillingness of Brandon Estates Ltd to communicate with us despite multiple attempts – and the possibility of working on mutually beneficial solutions – we cannot predict what would happen if an appeal to the Secretary of State is also rejected. In that case, it would almost certainly be a 10-15 year period before development could be considered.
It is true to say that land has been earmarked for a possible new stadium, and following numerous meetings and conversations with councillors from both Rugby and Coventry, the Leader of Rugby Borough Council urged the Campaign Group to arrange for a pre-planning application to be submitted.
With an architect employed to prepare the application, this was subsequently submitted on August 25.
We would have much preferred for this development to remain confidential and, pending a positive reception from the Planning Officer, the matter could then have gone into the public domain ahead of the formal planning process – rather than the possibility of building up false hopes amongst speedway and stock car fans.
We are now awaiting further communication with the Leader of Rugby Borough Council prior to making public the views of the Principal Planning Officer, which were conveyed at the end of last week.
Finally, we do not go along with the view that Coventry Speedway must run in 2018 – at whatever venue, or at whatever level of racing - in order for it to survive.
However, we would always support the return of a Coventry team, as long as it was viable and could operate in the full traditions of our proud history of racing at the top level of the sport.
Birmingham and Leicester are two recent examples of clubs which have returned after decades away from racing – although naturally we hope our own absence is nowhere near as lengthy.
It may be the case that it is important for the current ‘on ice’ Coventry Speedway promotion to get on track in 2018, but this should not be confused with the main issue of seeking a sustainable long-term future at a stadium in the Coventry area.
Finally, we thank the Coventry Telegraph for their renewed interest in the story and trust they will make strenuous efforts to seek the views of all parties, including Brandon Estates Ltd, as to how two major sports can be returned to their rightful place in the area and end this year-long misery for thousands of supporters.