Contested plans to build houses on historic motorsport venue in Brandon will be subject of planning inquiry
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Fervently contested plans to build houses on a historic motorsport venue to the east of Coventry will be the subject of a planning inquiry in September.
With just four days left of the six months allowed to submit an appeal, Brandon Estates launched its bid to contest Rugby Borough Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for 124 homes, a 3G football pitch and pavilion on the site of Coventry Stadium, Rugby Road, located between Binley Woods and Brandon.
The stadium hosted Coventry Bees, one of the country’s most iconic speedway clubs, and stock car racing until 2016 with campaigners fighting plans by owners Brandon Estates to turn it into housing ever since.
Fans and even former Coventry riders – including legendary Great Britain international and ex-Grand Prix ace Chris ‘Bomber’ Harris – were among the crowd that turned out to see the latest proposals rejected by councillors in November, despite planning professionals advising them to approve the plans.
It was acknowledged at that meeting that the judgment by officers had been “a very finely balanced one” and councillors eventually settled on one argument against the development, citing paragraph 99 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
It states that “existing open space, sports and recreational buildings and land, including playing fields, should not be built on unless the development is for alternative sports and recreational provision, the benefits of which clearly outweigh the loss of the current or former use”.
The inquiry will be led by planning inspector Robert Wordsworth and is currently scheduled to start on Tuesday, September 19, 2023.
Inquiries are the most formal procedure by which planning appeals are decided.
Legal representatives can cross-examine parties and expert witnesses to investigate evidence with the process taking days, perhaps weeks to conclude.
The final decision then comes in writing, often weeks after the closure of the inquiry.
Campaign group Save Coventry Speedway and Stox, which has led the fight against redevelopment and says there is a buyer waiting in the wings to revive the derelict stadium, released a statement on Thursday (June 1) stating the group’s intention to apply to “formally participate in the appeal process”.
“We can assure everyone that we will be working to ensure that the inspectorate is provided with all the facts required such that the decision taken by the members of the planning committee at Rugby Borough Council, and supported by an overwhelming majority of the general public, is upheld on appeal,” it added.
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