TWO fires were ignited at Coventry Stadium on Monday night, sparking safety concerns among residents of Binley Woods and fans of the Coventry Bees speedway club.
It is believed travellers – who occupied the site from Wednesday, January 3, until Tuesday, January 9 – started the blaze.
The news came as little surprise to fans of the world-famous Coventry Bees after growing speculation the stadium could be set alight while the site remains unoccupied.
Stadium owners Brandon Estates have told the Observer efforts will be made to ensure no further fires break out on the site. But they declined to give details.
A statement issued to the Observer read: “The security measures that Brandon Estates Ltd have put in place are precisely those recommended by Rugby Borough Council and its independent legal barrister.
“A great number of measures have been implemented, strictly in accordance with the advice from Rugby Borough Council, including staging the entrance to the stadium, fitting special locks and a VPS alarm system, a security team who visit the site daily, erasing the signs saying Coventry Speedway and erecting numerous signs warning of the danger of being on the site.
“Brandon Estates are concerned that travellers are on the site, and that a fire was started. Brandon Estates assures speedway fans and all members of the public that efforts will be made to ensure that no further fires break out on site.
“We understand that the Police will issue a Notice pursuant to Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 which should ensure the removal of the travellers and no further illegal incursions.”
Travellers have since left the stadium’s car park.
A Warwickshire fire service spokesperson told the Observer: “Two fires took place at Coventry Stadium.
“We were first called out at 10.58pm where we had two pumps in attendance. We believe this incident to be deliberate.
“Then at 3.24am we had two appliances in attendance to put out a single storey building. The fire affected 100 per cent of the building.”
We have also contacted Warwickshire Police but are yet to receive a response.
The site is earmarked for housing. A planning application is expected soon.
Campaigners fans, and the Observer’s Save Our Bees campaign, are seeking a long-term home for Coventry Bees, who will be competing in Leicester this season following a multi-party dispute over Brandon.
They still hope one option could be a return to Bees’ traditional Coventry Stadium home.