3rd Dec, 2016

EXCLUSIVE: Campaigner fighting to save popular speedway stadium vows 'this isn't the end'

Shaun Reynolds 25th May, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A CAMPAIGNER fighting to save Coventry Stadium has vowed to keep working hard in an attempt to protect the city’s most popular motorsport venue.

Lifelong speedway fan Pete Lawrence is spearheading the campaign to ‘Save Coventry Speedway’ and will be present at a public meeting at the Scarman House Lecture Theatre at Warwick University tomorrow, 7.30pm (May 26).

The stadium, built in the 1920s, has hosted speedway, stock car racing and greyhound racing since its construction.

However the site, which has stood tall on the outskirts of the city for nine decades, is under treat from housing development – something fans of the sports mentioned are keen to block.

The meeting will cover representations the campaigning party have made to Rugby Local Plan, the potential new stadium proposals and arrangements for the 2017 season.

There will also be an update on the application made to designate the existing stadium as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) – which is believed to have been rejected.

Should the stadium become an ACV, it would make building on the site much more complex – meaning the likelihood of losing the stadium at the end of the current season in October would decrease.

Furthermore, plans to build a new stadium on a site just a stone’s throw from the stadium’s current location have been rejected due to the land’s greenbelt status.

Mr Lawrence added: “We had a meeting last summer to keep the fans in the picture and allow different parties to talk to eachother.

“There’s been lots of misinformation and plenty of rumours since so the purpose of tomorrow’s meeting is to regroup and catch up on everything that’s been missed.”

A meeting will take place between campaigners and Rugby Borough Council today (May 25) with Coventry Bees promoter Mick Horton and stock car promoter Jeremy Heaver expected to attend.

Although key figures are continuously looking at new sites – with over 20 named areas already considered by Mr Heaver – Mr Lawrence is hoping to save what he describes as ‘home’ to many people in the motorsport industry.

He added: “Although the stadium looks tired, we have a great facility and investment will need to be made should the Bees and stock cars continue to race in 2017.

“Coventry Stadium is an established venue with massive heritage dating back to the 1920s and has a world wide status among racing fans.

“Until we receive support from the Council, we’ll remain very much protective of Brandon as it’s the largest entertainment facility in Rugby and to lose the stadium would be a massive blow.”

As a way of campaigning to ‘Save Coventry Stadium’ Mr Lawrence hasn’t ruled out the idea of a city centre march – though admits he’d require the backing of at least 1,000 fans to make the idea worthwhile.

He said: “There’s been talk of having a march through the city with banners and scarves but my feeling is we’d need the backing of thousands of people to make it look impressive.

“We need the support of the fans and it is there.

“We’ll know a lot more in the next few days about the current site and the possibility of a new one, at the moment though we just want to protect our venue that has provided us with so many special memories.”