PETERBOROUGH campaigners will use the Coventry planning victory in their bid to get the Panthers back on track.

And the consortium leading the opposition to site agents AEPG’s planning bid to turn the East of England Showground into a massive housing estate have brought on board one of the legal brains that helped the plot the case that convinced government Planning Inspector Helen Hockenhull to throw out Brandon Estates’ Limited’s appeal against Rugby Council’s refusal to give them the go-ahead to demolish Brandon Stadium and turn it into a 124 home development that included a 3G football pitch.

Retired lawyer Brian Connolly, an expert on planning and one of the instrumental figures in the campaign, has already had meetings with the six-man consortium that is trying to buy the on-ice Peterborough speedway licence and has been offering advice to its members.

The Panthers’ campaigner will use the landmark decision when they meet with leader of Peterborough City Council, Mohammed Farooq, next month.

Consortium spokesman Mick Bratley said: “I still think Coventry have a long way to go before they can bring speedway back as it depends what the developer wants to do with the site. 

“They could just leave it undeveloped but it is only a small site compared with the Showground which needs maintenance.

“The planning principle is now written in stone by the Planning Inspector’s decision and that has got to be good news for us and all our fans.

“People are now having to realise it’s all very well having hundreds of housing developments but people want something to do and somewhere to go and that’s particularly relevant in Peterborough where there isn’t a lot for people to do.

“It’s almost like they want you to stay at home, have food and drink delivered and never go out to be entertained.

“Covid taught us we all missed going out, the evidence is it affected people’s mental health and this was reflected in attendances at the speedway.

“They went up when racing resumed after a year’s break because of the pandemic and that was evenmthough the team wasn’t exactly doing well.

“Speedway is the only sport going on at the Showground and they are trying to replace it with a couple of football pitches.”

In her ruling, the Planning Inspector said: “Four (speedway) clubs have closed as the owners have seen an opportunity to realise their asset through redevelopment proposals. 

“This does not indicate a sport in severe decline, rather it reinforces the need for existing stadiums to be retained. 

“I therefore conclude that Coventry Stadium is not surplus to requirements.”


Words by Holeshot Media. 

Image by Jeff Davies.